Last year’s Supreme Court decision allows institutions to fire employees who refuse to immunize against Covid-19
A subject that generates divergences and controversies is the possibility of companies fire employees who refuse to vaccination against a Covid-19. The decision was authorized by the Supreme Court (STF) in December 2020 and divide opinions. The elderly caregiver Josélia Ferreira is against the obligation. “The company should not do this, because the person has to decide whether to take it or not. She has to have the decision, it is not the company that has to oblige”, he said. On the other hand, physician Ricardo Barros agrees with the requirement of immunization by institutions. “If the company, for example, deals with the public and this person is going to have contact with an external public, it should be mandatory”, he says. According to the Supreme Court, the obligation cannot be through force or constraint on the part of the worker. For Cristiane Haik, a specialist in labor law, taking into account the Court’s understanding, companies must maintain the health of the work environment. Therefore, the requirement of vaccine is valid.
“Individual will cannot override collective security. And then the Supreme said that indeed, and there is no doubt that it is a disease that can be lethal for many people. So one not wanting cannot expose so many others. Along the same lines, we have the CLT. CLT says that it is the employer’s obligation to collaborate, work, achieve a healthy environment and also says that it is the employee’s obligation to collaborate with this, to obey those orders that lead to a healthy environment”, he points out. Also according to the labor lawyer, companies can apply punishments to employees who do not want to take a dose of the vaccine. These punishments can range from temporary removal to dismissal. However, before sanctions take place, Cristiane Haik highlights the importance of raising awareness.
“Do an awareness campaign, take people from the health area to give lectures. Campaign even with the occupational health department, because this is very important for the company. This shows she wasn’t radical, she wasn’t looking for any reason to fire. Because when it ends up in the work justice it is a common argument that is used in labor proceedings”, he explains. For infectologist Raquel Stucchi, thinking should be about collective and not individual care, whose effectiveness depends on the group of people who are going to be immunized. “For a disease as serious as Covid-19, where the only sustainable form of protection is the vaccine, and a disease that if you don’t protect yourself puts people close to you at risk, I think it’s appropriate that companies, schools, in short, all activities that bring together a group of people require vaccination”, he said. The trend indicates that companies take action in relation to those who do not want to take vaccines. However, experts consider that the legislation does not provide a solution to the stalemate and each case must be analyzed individually.
*With information from reporter Elisângela Almeida