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Arbitrator Decides Employer Could Terminate Employee Who Refused Government-Ordered Vaccination

On April 4, 2022, in Fraser Health Authority v British Columbia General Employees' Union, 2022 CanLII 25560, Arbitrator Koml Kandola of the British Columbia Labour Relations Board dismissed the union's grievance respecting the dismissal of the grievor because she was ineligible to work under the order issued by the Provincial Health Officer of BC (PHO Order), and had no intention of ever becoming vaccinated. The PHO Order required all health authority employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be eligible to work. The arbitrator rejected the union's argument that the employer did not have just and reasonable cause for terminating the grievor's employment as reasonable alternatives existed.
The grievor had been employed without discipline by FHA as a substance abuse counsellor since February 2014. On October 14, 2021, the PHO issued its Order, which provided that as of October 26 all health authority employees "must be vaccinated or have an exemption to work." ...

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