Salesforce Australia considers allowing fully vaxxed employees back to the office. What are the legal implications?

vaccine-status vaccine mandates

A vaccine being administrated. Source: Unsplash/CDC.

More businesses will follow the lead of tech giant Salesforce in its plan to restrict on-site work to vaccinated staff when restrictions ease in Australia, an employment lawyer says.

Ian Neil SC, employment and industrial relations law barrister, expects more smaller businesses in service-based sectors will consider similar strategies to Salesforce’s when vaccines become widely available.

“It comes down to the question of whether employers can lawfully require their employees to lawfully be vaccinated,” Neil tells SmartCompany.

As vaccines become generally available, more businesses will be able to lawfully require their staff to get vaccinated, he adds.

Salesforce is looking to bring the vaccination strategy it has adopted in its US offices to Australia where it employs about 2000 staff.

Pip Marlow, regional chief executive of Salesforce, told The Sydney Morning Herald that rather than mandating the vaccine, she is considering allowing workers to voluntarily return to the office in a staggered approach if they are fully vaccinated.

“We really don’t have all the answers here, but what we do know is that when we do reopen in our offices here our number one priority is: can we do it in a way that is safe for our people and our customers?” Marlow said.

This week, mining company BHP Group announced it is considering making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory at its Australian sites and is also looking at offering jabs on-site.

Neil expects smaller businesses will soon follow suit with similar plans, after vaccines become widely available across the country and vaccination rates increase.

“Then most employers will lawfully be able to require most employees to be vaccinated,” he says.

While Neil acknowledges the Fair Work Ombudsman’s guidance on mandating vaccines, he says that the government should provide further clarity to businesses navigating the issue of vaccines at work.

“There really should be legislation that deals with this issue,” he says.

On Saturday, the federal government announced a COVID-19 indemnity scheme, which will see the federal government pay out claims from Australians, if they suffer adverse side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine.

The no-fault COVID-19 indemnity scheme, set to begin from September 6, has been widely welcomed by the business community.


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critical thinker
critical thinker
8 months ago

This makes no sense. Vaccination does not stop the spread. This is not a why are we even talking about this! Use your brains people, it doesn’t make sense so why the continued conversation as though it does? Where is the science!!! Just look at Israel where they are seeing the reality of a highly vaccinated population – Vaccination Does. Not. Stop. The. Spread! It’s not a crazy conspiracy theory it’s business and there is an agenda here that’s bypassing all logical thought, common sense and most importantly avoiding the hard scientific data that this is just the wrong direction.

8 months ago

The problem we are facing/discussing here has nothing to do with spread, so called scientific evidence, or random illogical thought.

Here the concerns are about who will be held accountable/liable for what happens in a business’ workplace, if things go to the outhouse.

Critical thinking’s comments definitely exacerbates the concerns.

This is a Smart Company small business forum looking for solutions, not political debate.

This discussion is about the concerns small business owners/managers have regarding WHS Act, Safe work places/environments, Fair Work Australia, Anti-Discrimination Act and liability insurance, plus a lot more serious concerns, we have to tackle before reopening the workplace; especially since real, local evidence indicates not every person is a responsible individual who cares about other people, or whether they spread the virus or not.

The ambiguity of information, lack of clarity and red herrings thrown in by malcontents contribute nothing to the discussion; instead are making decisions for sustainable businesses to open up, next to impossible.

True logical thought is about: finding real solutions to real problem, not wasting time on debates.

It is government responsibility and obligation to give clear mandate for business’s to provide compliant safe workplaces. Current rhetoric does not.

8 months ago

How does the availability of vaccines make it ‘lawful’ for Employers to enforce ‘No Jab No Work’ Policy? If an employee Declines to be vaccinated, do they then get the Sack? What is the law around Discriminating against an individual for their right to personal freedom and choice? Health and Safety for all workers, what about the choice of a worker not to have the current available vaccines for their Own Health and Safety? In Paris, Protestors regarding the Vaccine Passport to dine out, cafe etc access are currently holding protests by picnicing in the Streets outside the restaurants and cafes and their outdoor dining areas, who have engaged the vaccine passport programme. Oddly and rather funnily, there are MORE People sitting having picnics on those streets than are sitting in the restaurants and cafes. This action will eventually make its way to Australia. People will vote with their wallets. Parisians Are Protesting Against Discrimination and a Facist attitude. Belgium have torn up the vaccine passport programme. Other European countries will be following suit. Wake up Australians.

Last edited 8 months ago by Syb
8 months ago

Once again, discrimination under the guise of ‘safety’. As other commentators have noted, we now know for FACT that vaccinated individuals spread especially the delta variant as much as the unvaccinated, and the unvaccinated person is more likely to have symptoms, get tested, stay home or seek medical attention.

Overseas studies coming in are now confirming too, that efficacy of vaccines diminishes within approx 6 months, which will require regular booster shots, plus Pfizer is now recommending THEIR soon-to-be-released antiviral drug for breakthrough infections. Go figure …

Recent research also shows that those with natural COVID immunity are much less likely to end up with a variant, as their natural immunity is far stronger than when it’s artificially stimulated.

An unvaccinated person therefore, is only a risk to themselves.

dumb professional
dumb professional
8 months ago

again, the placebo effect …. give them a vaccine and they’ll go back to work (regardless of whether the vaccine works or not!). If this isn’t dirty politics, then I don’t know what is!! This so called solution is all about making our government look and feel like they are looking after us, but in reality we are just back to square 1 (massive spread of some new strain and further lockdowns). The UK and Israel are living proof of this – their population are NOT HAPPY right now.

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