Employee fired for refusing mandatory Covid-19 jab loses CCMA challenge

By Loyiso Sidimba for IOL

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has dismissed an employee’s claim for unfair dismissal for refusing to vaccinate against Covid-19.

CCMA commissioner Lungile Matshaka last Thursday dismissed business-related and training officer Theresa Mulderij’s bid to challenge her dismissal on the grounds of incapacity.

Her employer, the Goldrush Group, fired her after she failed to comply with its mandatory vaccination policy and was hauled before a disciplinary hearing in October last year.

The hearing found that she was permanently incapacitated based on her decision to not get vaccinated and her refusal to help create a safe working environment.

Mulderij informed the company that she had no intention to get vaccinated.

She told the CCMA that she had a constitutional right to bodily integrity and that the Constitution provided for every person to have the right to bodily and psychological integrity.

According to Mulderij, no person should be denied the rights enshrined in the constitutional requirement that they have a right to make decisions on their health and medical interventions and treatment.

She also claimed to have felt extreme social pressure and emotional discomfort after being subjected to deciding between her livelihood and accepting the Covid-19 vaccine under current conditions and specifically having to waive all avenues of recourse against pharmaceutical firms manufacturing and supplying the vaccines as well as Goldrush in case of temporary and/or permanent side effects.

Mulderij also argued that she had adhered to Covid-19 protocols and knew that she had not been infected with the coronavirus as well as that she had made her informed decision not to get vaccinated.

But Matshaka dismissed her submissions.

”I can only conclude that the applicant (Mulderij) is permanently incapacitated on the basis of her decision to not get vaccinated and by implication refusing to participate in the creation of a safe working environment,” read the ruling.

Matshaka found Mulderij’s dismissal substantively fair and threw out her challenge to the decision.


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