Mandated Vaccinations – are they legal?

Mandated Vaccinations – are they legal?

Mandated Vaccinations – are they legal?

By Andrew Wright

We have endured hearing and reading about the word ‘mandate’ over the past 18 months, but what the heck does it mean?

The word ‘mandate’ has been used when referring to workers in certain industries needing to be vaccinated in order to continue with their duties at work. Classic examples of a mandated workforce are healthcare and education.

‘On just terms’

Confusingly, a mandate in an Act, or an individual policy created by an employer, does not always mean that it is compulsory to comply with that Order or Direction.

Cast your mind back to the classic Australian movie, The Castle. In the end, the Kerrigans weren’t required to hand over their suburban home to Airlink, the company expanding the airport next to their home. This is because the High Court found that their home was not being acquired ‘on just terms’ by Airlink.

Similarly with mandates, they must also be ‘on just terms’.

So, what does that mean?

Well, the directive must be within the bounds of Australian and international law.

If the employee is discriminated against by the employer on the grounds that they are unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition, then that may well violate Australian and international law.

There are also arguments surrounding religious reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated. However, so far, the courts have been unwilling to give much weight to that argument.

Employers are also in a tough position.

Employers have an obligation to ensure their workforce is safe, alongside their customers and clients, as per the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.

Indeed, employer groups have called on the government to mandate the vaccination requirements at work more broadly under legislation. This would alleviate the need for business owners to attempt creating policies, which cause a minefield.

Recently, to make matters more complex, it was found by the Fair Work Commission that there must be adequate consultation with respect to policies and vaccination. Employers must consult with employees and, if necessary, employment groups, before implementing a policy that directs its workforce to vaccinate.

In conclusion, mandates are legal to the extent that they must be ‘on just terms’. This means the mandate cannot violate other Australian or international laws, such as discrimination. Courts are now making decisions that guide what is and isn’t acceptable with respect to vaccination mandates (E.g., workplaces requiring consultation with employees).

If you require advice on this topic, please contact Boylan Lawyers on (08) 8632 2777.  

Andrew Wright is a Partner at Boylan Lawyers, expert in industrial relations for workers, and the pre-selected Labor candidate for the Seat of Stuart.

Advice from a family lawyer: 5 steps of divorce

Advice from a family lawyer: 5 steps of divorce

By Rianie Huggins, Associate Boylan Lawyers

 

A new year brings a fresh start for many. In the world of family law, this means I am approached by couples looking to divorce after the stresses of the Christmas season. Many couples stay together and ‘bunker-down’ through the Christmas period, often for their children. However, when the new year arrives, they decide they can’t go on. 

Deciding to divorce is a tough decision, but also a decision that takes bravery to believe you are making the right choices for your future. As a family lawyer it is my job to support couples through the next steps. Here are five steps typically involved in the divorce process. 

1. Get advice: First and foremost, it is important you receive quality advice from a family lawyer. They will help you create a plan that is specific to your personal needs and situation. Your lawyer may also direct you to speak with an accountant or financial planner.  

2. Property settlement: Find out what assets, debts and financial resources are up for negotiation regardless of who brought them into the relationship. Your lawyer will likely organise valuations and reports required to settle your property or distribute assets.  

3. Parenting Arrangements: Work with your family lawyer how much time each parent receives with the children.  

4. Wills and estate planning: Divorce automatically revokes a will. Before you settle, make sure you protect your assets, and your future wishes with a fresh will and estate planning. Not updating your will as a divorced person can lead to disputed estates in the future.   

5. Conveyancing and asset transfer: If you decide to sell the assets you own or purchase new assets, you will need help from a conveyancer that can guide you through the process.  

The success of negotiations will determine whether you and your ex settle or go to court. The court process is extensive and can be time consuming. Once negotiations or court matters are settled, you can organise conveyancing of the matrimonial home and other assets. You can also settle payments for financial distributions. Once this is complete, the process is now over, and you can take a breath.  

The above process is stressful, which is why it’s important to have the right team behind you. Boylan Lawyers can support you through every step of your separation plan. Our family law team has a combined 86 years’ experience. Get a free 30-minute consultation by calling (08) 8632 2777 or email admin@boylanlawyers.com.au 

 

Rianie Huggins, Associate Boylan Lawyers

Rianie Huggins is an Associate at Boylan Lawyers who specialises in family law, estate planning, probate, trusts and more. Rianie has extensive international and local experience in law. She loves being part of the Strathalbyn community and enjoys seeing the unique offerings from talented Artisans throughout the Adelaide Hills and surrounds.