• Michael Wilson
    111
    Two workers work closely together.. One has an immune deficient daughter, so was an early adopter for the vaccine. The other is a vocal "vaccine and mask skeptic" who has told everyone that he will not be getting the vaccination and will not discuss his reasons. Worker one is concerned that due to worker twos attitude to vaccines and masks there is a non-zero risk that he could get infected by working near worker two. If he did it could have serious repercussions for his daughter.

    What advice would you give each of the two workers?
  • Dianne Campton
    69
    Hi Michael. First thing I would do would sit both down together over a coffee and let them explain the implications of each others decision and how that might affect them and there family. The person adamant they wont be vaccinated or wear a mask may have very valid reasons. Both parties should be given the opportunity to talk calmly and openly about their fears and concerns.
    If they are still at an impasse I would recommend swapping worker one with another worker who has been vaccinated and will wear a mask. Worker two can be assigned to someone else who doesn't have the same health risk concerns as worker one.
    In this day and age worker two needs to understand that he might have no option but to comply at least with mask wearing if this virus continues on its destructive path as it seems it is.
  • Michelle Dykstra
    59
    I respectfully disagree with the approach Dianne has suggested.
    Neither worker should be put in a position to have to discuss, explain or justify with regards the others' situation or choices. This approach may be suitable in a family but not a workplace.
    Secondly, I disagree with putting any onus on 'swapping out' one worker over and above the other worker.
    My advice would be for the workplace to conduct a risk assessment and consult with both workers on appropriate controls.
  • Chrissy Hansen
    16
    A lot of workplace scenarios are being discussed. We must remain guided by the MOH and MPI in regard to Covid restrictions and controls. It is still a matter of choice in NZ unless you are on the coal face in certain high risk environment's. Moving forward I think public assess maybe denied in certain places. We do not have the right to push vaccinating on to people until it is policy.
  • Steve H
    202
    Secondly, I disagree with putting any onus on 'swapping out' one worker over and above the other worker.
    My advice would be for the workplace to conduct a risk assessment and consult with both workers on appropriate controls.
    Michelle Dykstra
    I've been considering this, and am leaning the same way Michelle, as a strategy, swapping may well not be possible, or fair.
    Negative air pressure zones, extraction and filtration systems would seem likely candidates to reduce risk of infection, as well as the default PPE of masks
  • Steve H
    202
    I like the incentive The Warehouse is offering it's vaccinated staff

    Warehouse Group to give $100 to Staff Who Get Covid Vaccinations, Free KFC etc etc is all very well, but if $100 will overcome at least some of the hesitancy, so be it.
  • Andrew P
    7
    I Don't actually see what difference if they are vaccinated or not . MoH has been clear that having the vaccine doesn't stop you from getting Covid. What it is supposed to do is reduce serious complications. So coworker being vaccinated or not doesn't make much difference, they can still spread covid. Tests have shown that Viral load in Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated is not much different and may even be higher in those who are vaccinated.
    The reason the government is trying to get everybody Vaccinated is to reduce the stress on our medical system because we don't have enough ICU capacity. At some stage we are all going to get covid, or else NZ is going to have to be a closed state like North Korea.


    As to the mask side of the question, I don't have an answer on how to deal with that one, it comes down to company policies and covid regulations.
  • Andrew
    323
    Hmm. I might die but can't be bothered getting the vax. But $100 will do it. Smart workers at the Warehouse!

    As for the OP, while we have the right to freedom of expression that does not apply in full in the workplace. Many opinions are best left at the fort door.
  • Michael Wilson
    111
    I just heard a major accounting firm is having vaccine mandates in their New Zealand offices. This will be interesting to see.
  • Sandra Nieuwoudt
    26
    To pay people to get the vaccine is bribery, unfair disadvantage, and exclusion of a minority group.
  • MattD2
    219
    Hmm. I might die but can't be bothered getting the vax. But $100 will do it. Smart workers at the Warehouse!Andrew
    Maybe they are smart - get vaccinated early and only get the peace of mind... or wait until someone offers me $100, or a free phone, or a car, (and the peace of mind).
  • MattD2
    219
    I just heard a major accounting firm is having vaccine mandates in their New Zealand offices. This will be interesting to see.Michael Wilson

    I want to see the justification for that one, it going to be interesting.
  • Dianne Campton
    69
    I believe we have to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act o top of the MoH Acts which states we must provide safe and healthy workplaces. I understand human rights of people not wanting to be vaccinated but their right does not override the right of someone who is vaccinated not wanting to work alongside someone who is not.
    This is going to be a long and complicated process as one's individual human rights cannot negatively impact another's and then there are all the employment related arguments as well.
    If a person refuses to be vaccinated that is their right. It is also the right of other workers not to work alongside that person which means companies need to have strategies in place to manage these situations if they arise. Out right sacking is not an option unless you are in one of the MoH mandatory vaccination groups.
    If you cannot get your work groups to work together then you need to find a way of carrying out work separately. Providing alternative groups or alternative types of work is one way companies can manage this minefield should it eventuate.
  • Steve H
    202
    You might want to take a look at the Employment Relations Authority's determination as a starting point Dianne GV Vs NZ Custons [2021] NZERA 382 3138682
  • Catherine Ross
    5
    Kia ora all,
    We (ShopCare.org.nz) hosted a presentation "Your legal responsibilities in a covid world" with Olivia Lund - Partner at Lawyers Duncan Cotterill this week which talks to some of this discussion thread. There was some interesting insights and if anyone is interested the recording is now on our newsletter and YouTube account.
    Olivia spoke on two key topics.
    1) the NZ context and legal framework relating to blended working from home/office, and
    2) the future of vaccines in relation to the workplace.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp6hK0LRXoQ
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