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  • A COVID-19 vaccine mandate by an employer can be considered a lawful and reasonable direction.
  • Consultation is an important factor when considering whether the direction is reasonable.
  • When implemented appropriately, a vaccine mandate does not breach the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) or a person’s right to bodily integrity.

Over the past 12 months, as the pandemic has evolved, so has the response of Governments and employers. Public Health Orders with different requirements have applied to different industries and across different States and Territories. Certainty of legal rights and a clear path to follow has been elusive.

Within this void, employers have been left to determine the way forward for their business, having regard to the latest medical advice and their legal obligations particularly insofar as it relates to work health and safety, privacy and discrimination.

On the vexed issue of mandatory vaccinations, the path forward looks a little clearer. That is not to say there will be no bumps. However, in a trilogy of related decisions, the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) has confirmed that a requirement to be vaccinated can be a lawful and reasonable direction.

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