Tag Archive for: Julie Pollock

Can Managers Make Staff Get a Covid-19 Vaccine?

Over half a million people living in Northern Ireland, have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  And we are now one year on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to protect your staff and your business, it’s important to look at Covid-19 vaccines in the workplace.

One London company, has already hit the headlines on this issue. Pimlico Plumbers, announced that opportunities would be declined to workers, unless they could show proof of vaccination for Covid-19. If your staff deal with the public, should you consider a similar approach?

Here, Consult HR outlines the legal and ethical issues employers face by making a Covid-19 vaccine mandatory.

Covid-19 Vaccine Refusal & Unfair Dismissal


If an employee refuses to get a Covid-19 vaccine  required for ongoing work, they could lodge a  claim for unfair dismissal. Your employees may encounter the public, customers or colleagues in their work. If so, an unreasonable refusal will generally be defined in two ways. This could be an issue of conduct/capability, or “some other substantial reason for dismissal.”

With every dismissal, managers should ensure they follow a fair process, in line with Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice and your own internal Company Policies. Firstly, you need to look at the reasons why they are refusing the vaccine. Do they have a genuine health concern? If so, you might want to explore alternatives to dismissal, such as redeployment.

It would help managers if employees received reliable and accurate information on the benefits and risks of vaccines.  The Public Health Agency would be an excellent source to use. If safety at work issues outweigh your employee’s vaccine concern, you may be able to successfully defend a dismissal.

However, every claim has its particulars and a lot depends on the circumstances. A nurse refusing a Covid-19 vaccination, and a gardener, for example, could have wildly different outcomes at tribunal. Nurses must interact with vulnerable people daily. A gardener, however, may encounter no other people in the course of their daily duties.

Covid-19 Vaccine & Working from Home Requests

Whilst the current guidance continues to be if you can work from home you should do so and those who are in the extremely vulnerable category should also work from home.

Managers do not universally have to grant employee requests to work from home, because of exposure risks to Covid-19 (with the exception of the above). Again, as a manager you should fairly assess the wishes of the employee and the needs of the company.

All your staff may be called to return to the workplace. So, a tribunal may find that it is reasonable to require that all staff receive a Covid-19 vaccine. This also applies for staff interacting with the wider public, in the course of their duties. If someone refusing a Covid-19 vaccine places other people’s health at risk, this is a strong defence for an employer.

The Right to Freedom of the Individual and Beliefs


Tribunal claims indicate that the remit of “religious or other belief” under Equal Opportunities, is wide and open-ended. Human rights principles, such as personal choice, liberty, privacy of medical records and bodily autonomy, could arise in such claims.

Rights must be weighed up against the best interests of all who are affected. An employee’s beliefs are protected, but only if an employer’s actions are deemed disproportionate to the needs of the business.

As these issues have yet to be tested in tribunals, however. So, employers should be careful and cautious in how they handle staff refusals to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. An in-depth consideration of the employee’s position, and the needs of a business, is essential.

Consult HR Help for Tribunal Issues


Going to tribunal is a complex, and stressful process. The best option is to seek professional guidance. Consult HR provides guidance on employment matters to avoid possible tribunal claims.

For bespoke guidance, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk


5 Ways to Improve Team Management Skills

Now’s the perfect time to assess your team management skills, as you continue to prepare for the year ahead. This is particularly important, as we leave behind a year which stretched our business and management skills like no other.

With a COVID-19 vaccine currently being rolled out, we can begin to hope to return to some normality in 2021. However, the pandemic has exposed huge weaknesses in team management.

City & Guilds surveyed 3,500 UK workers about this issue. Almost two-thirds felt that their company’s leadership had been lacking during the stress and change, of 2020. (You can read more here about this survey).

1. Delegation for Good Team Management

As a manager, you must lead. Yet, it is important to have a staff structure which allows for delegation, and trust. If staff are given responsibilities and autonomy, this eases up the workload of a manager. But – just as importantly – it also encourages a culture of autonomy.

If employees do not feel they are developing in their jobs, there is likely to be higher turnover of staff. This costs a company more, and makes a team more fractured, and less efficient.

2. Empathy

Many managers underestimate the power of empathy, in fact, many don’t see the value in this management skill at all.

Empathy is crucial during times of crisis when so many people are struggling and has been the saving grace for many businesses during the Coronavirus.

Getting this right creates connections with your staff, it creates an innovative, loyal workforce.

How Do You Show Empathy?

  • Listen to people—without interrupting.  And while you’re listening, pay attention—without distractions like looking at your phone or looking at your watch.
  • Talk to people – be genuinely interested, ask them about their interests, pay attention to what they’re doing and praise them for what they’re doing well, and encourage them to speak up with their own ideas.

Not only does it create a stronger workforce but improves the overall business performance, a study from Harvard Business Review found that empathetic companies outperform their more callous counterparts by 20%.

3. Provide Feedback to Your Team

Millennials now make up a high percentage of most businesses, it is imperative managers tailor their management style to suit the workforce.

Generation Y Millennials (aged 24 to 38) prefer to receive on the spot recognition.  They also crave recognition, career progression and want to learn and develop.

However irrespective of the demographics of the workforce, successful performance of your team is achieved by being clear on the expectations of each team member, providing regular feedback on performance and giving staff accountability for their own performance by setting targets.

However research would suggest if you want to hold on to your top performers  one of the main retention strategies is recognition, 25% of people said they left their jobs due to lack of recognition in their employment.

4. Communicate With Your Team

Team managers should seek to create a sense of parity. Rather than being distant in an office, a team manager should hold regular team meetings.

These meetings are an opportunity to update staff on changes within the organisation. They also allow for hearing the views and experiences of staff, and welcoming new team members.

Team meetings also allow a manager to build on their active listening skills. A manager should not assume because they lead, or have many years’ experience, that they always know best.  They may be pleasantly surprised and the company may benefit from the skills, experience and input of newer and younger staff.

With many staff working remotely, this brings it’s own challenges but also makes the regular communication more important now that ever.  Communicating with remote teams will ensure the workforce stay connected and up to date with what is happening within the business.

5. Manage Discipline Fairly

A manager should strictly follow best practice, as outlined by Labour Relations Agency.  Managers should be aware, that a one size fits all approach, however, could be discrimination. Particular attention should be given, to protected characteristics under the remit of the Disability Discrimination Act. If not, a manager could well have a tribunal to answer to.

A practical step to take, is to ensure policies in relation to discipline and equality, are in place. Management need to ensure they are followed across the company and amended over time.

For example, a decade ago there was little discussion of gender identity beyond male and female. Earlier this month, a tribunal claim brought against Jaguar Land Rover, broke new ground in protection for gender-fluid staff. (Read details here).

Consult HR Help for Team Management Skills

There’s a lot for a management team to think about, when it comes to efficient management skills. The best option is to seek professional guidance. Consult HR can provide the management support and training your company needs.


For bespoke management training and support, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk