Sacked port worker in New Zealand loses High Court case

An ex-customs service worker who opted not to be vaccinated and consequently got sacked has lost her case at the High Court.
By: | September 29, 2021

The temporary port worker was sacked on May 31. The government had issued a public health order requiring all front-line workers to be vaccinated by midnight April 30 in order to continue being employed at border facilities.

The woman, who did not disclose why she does not want to be vaccinated, took her case to the High Court after losing an unjustified dismissal claim at the Employment Relations Authority.

She did not claim mandatory vaccinations were not justified, but rather the vaccination order was too wide and did not allow challenges to which roles were safe.

In addition, she had claimed the normal checks and balances did not occur before a right protected under the Bill of Rights Act – the right to refuse medical treatment – was limited.

Justice Peter Churchman, however, dismissed her arguments. He was satisfied that the order was appropriate and it was not possible to characterise the use of a vaccination – the Pfizer one which has provisional approval for use – as being the equivalent of “medical experimentation”.

READ: Sacked New Zealand border staff mounts legal challenge to dismissal

He also said her claim that the order could have resulted in “mass terminations of employment” seemed to be an over-statement. The woman’s case against unjustified dismissal is still to be heard by the Employment Court, according to Stuff.