CCMA rules company's decision to sack unvaccinated worker is 'substantively fair'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The CCMA ruled in favour of a company who fired a woman for refusing to be vaccinated. 
  • Theresa Mulderiji argued that she was well within her human rights to refuse the vaccine. 
  • Her employer, Goldrush Group, said it introduced mandatory vaccination to protect its employees. 

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found that a company who fired a woman for refusing to be vaccinated acted fairly - and her sacking was upheld. 

In an arbitration award granted on 21 January, CCMA commissioner Lungile Matshaka ruled that Theresa Mulderiji's sacking by the Goldrush Group was "substantively fair".

The matter was set down for an arbitration hearing on 10 January 2022. 

Mulderiji was employed as a business-related and training officer since 2018.  

READ | Covid-19: No work, no pay for unvaccinated Rhodes University staff

The company's executive committee voted in favour of a mandatory vaccination policy in 2021.

Handing down judgment, Matshaka said:

In my own sense of fairness, I can only conclude that the applicant is permanently incapacitated on the basis of her decision to not get vaccinated and, by implication, refusing to participate in the creation of a safe working environment.

Before implementing the policy, the company management spent three months consulting with workers and their unions.

According to the arbitration award, the workers had to confirm receipt of the mandatory workplace vaccination policy, that it was explained to them, and that they had read it.

READ | Billionaire Soon-Shiong launches 1 billion-dose vaccine plant in Cape Town

On completion of the consultations, employees had to apply for exemption by completing the vaccination for review by the committee.

A representative of the company told Matshaka that the mandatory vaccination was implemented to protect workers.

A second witness from the company testified that Mulderiji failed or refused to be vaccinated.

The commissioner heard from the company witnesses that, because of the nature of Mulderiji's job,  she could not be moved to another position.  

READ| Mandatory vaccination at workplaces should be finalised – Nxesi

Mulderiji's job, it was said, made her interact with site owners as well as employees.

In her evidence, Mulderiji said it was her constitutional human right to refuse to vaccinate.

The arbitration further stated that Mulderiji felt extreme social pressure and emotional discomfort after being subjected to deciding between her livelihood and accepting the vaccine.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.77
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
19.69
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.65
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.09
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.0%
Gold
1,846.66
0.0%
Silver
21.76
0.0%
Palladium
1,970.00
0.0%
Platinum
958.50
0.0%
Brent-ruolie
112.55
+0.5%
Top 40
61,000
-1.2%
All Share
67,575
-1.0%
Resource 10
72,529
+1.6%
Industrial 25
72,948
-3.9%
Financial 15
15,746
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE