Hull care home staff lose claim after being sacked for refusing Covid jabs

Left to right: Sammy-jo Chadwick and Galina Dimitrova lost their jobs after refusing Covid vaccinations. Credit: MEN Media

Two care home staff have lost an unfair dismissal claim after being sacked for refusing to have Covid vaccinations.

Galina Dimitrova and Sammy-jo Chadwick were dismissed by Barchester Healthcare, which runs the Castle Park care home in Bransholme in Hull, after they refused to get the Covid jab, despite not having medical exemptions.

The pair, together with three other colleagues from other Barchester homes, argued unfair dismissal at a tribunal in Leeds, but all claims were thrown out on the basis that the dismissal sought to save the lives of the care home residents during the pandemic.

In documents from the industrial tribunal held in October, both women argued that they did not trust the vaccine, as long-term effects had not yet been published.

However, hospital director Alice Tindall said that the vaccine should be considered safe as it had the approval from the government's Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The tribunal accepted that the reason for Barchester Healthcare's introduction of its vaccine policy was to "reduce the risk of spread of Covid infection in its homes and, therefore, death and serious illness amongst primarily its residents, but also its staff and any visitors."

Ms Dimitrova was a qualified nurse and former deputy manager at the Bransholme care home. She said she believed the vaccine was "experimental", which led her to refuse it.

Ms Chadwick, a care assistant for people with physical disabilities, said she had Covid previously and was okay, believing her natural antibodies would protect her adequately from the virus.

Employment Judge Neil Maidment said that Barchester Healthcare was trying to "minimise the risk of death, putting genuine value on the saving of any resident's life".

He added: "Any contrary attitude from a care home provider might have been regarded as disturbing."

Judge Maidment recognised that the reason for sacking the workers, while "unusual", was "genuine and substantial" and said the company "believed its policy of (subject to medical exemption) only employing vaccinated care home staff would save lives".

He said: "The tribunal concludes that any interference with human rights in the circumstances of this case was proportionate."

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