"The Australian Industry Group welcomes today’s sensible Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision supporting an aged care employer’s right to mandate influenza vaccinations. The appeal decision upholds an earlier decision of Commissioner McKenna to reject an unfair dismissal claim by an employee who was dismissed for refusing to be vaccinated," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

"Even though today’s decision relates to influenza vaccinations, the judgments of the Majority (Vice President Hatcher and Commissioner Riordan) and the Minority (Deputy President Dean) address the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. As stated by the Majority:

"...we consider that the public interest weighs entirely against the grant of permission to appeal. We do not intend, in the circumstances of the current pandemic, to give any encouragement to a spurious objection to a lawful workplace vaccination requirement."

"This is the first FWC Full Bench decision on the issue of vaccination mandates to be handed down during the pandemic. It is pleasing that the Full Bench has supported an employer’s right to mandate vaccinations where reasonable in the circumstances. Today’s Full Bench decision follows a number of earlier decisions of single members of the FWC in which a similar approach has been taken, including: Kimber v Sapphire Aged Care [2021] FWC 1818; Arnold v Goodstart Early Learning Limited [2020] FWC 6083; Maria Corazon Glover v Ozcare [2021] FWC 2989; and Barber v Goodstart Early Learning [2021] FWC 2156 (20 April 2021),” Mr Willox said.

Today’s Full Bench decision