Monash Health nurses lose court battle over vaccine mandate orders in latest landmark case

Nurses LOSE legal battle against vaccine mandate orders in the latest landmark court battle

  • Monash Health can take disciplinary action against nurses who have not been vaccinated
  • 90 nurses wanted the federal court to block disciplinary proceedings on Wednesday
  • Claimed that they had the right to be heard about mandatory vaccination guidance
  • Appealed for an injunction before the full case could go to court, but it was rejected










Monash Health has been given the green light to take disciplinary action, including dismissal against nurses who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

About 90 nurses tried to block the planned action in federal court on Wednesday, claiming they were entitled to be heard about Monash Health’s mandatory vaccination direction.

They sought an urgent injunction to stop disciplinary action before the full case could go to court, but it was rejected by Judge John Snaden, who found that their legal case was weak at best.

Monash Health has been given the green light to take disciplinary action, including dismissal against nurses who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19

Monash Health has been given the green light to take disciplinary action, including dismissal against nurses who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19

Since October 15, all Victorian health workers must provide their employer with proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, that they had an agreement to receive a first dose by October 29, or that they have a medical exemption.

Monash Health also imposed this directive, with disciplinary action, including termination applicable to those who did not comply.

However, nurses say that in the workplace they have the right to be heard about the directive – including being given the opportunity to express their views and take those views into account.

About 90 nurses tried to block the planned action in federal court on Wednesday, claiming they had the right to be consulted on Monash Health's mandatory vaccination guidelines

About 90 nurses tried to block the planned action in federal court on Wednesday, claiming they had the right to be consulted on Monash Health’s mandatory vaccination guidelines

Their attorney Nick Ferrett QC said Monash Health could and should have sought to find out what their concerns were and whether it was possible to overcome them for people to be vaccinated and allowed to continue working.

He said that if Monash Health had the resources to interview all of these employees for disciplinary reasons, which he expected would happen, it is hard to believe that they would not have the resources for consultation.

The nurses sought an urgent injunction to stop disciplinary action before the whole case could go to court, but it was rejected as their legal case was found to be weak (pictured: A nurse in Victoria receiving a Covid vaccine)

The nurses sought an urgent injunction to stop disciplinary action before the whole case could go to court, but it was rejected as their legal case was found to be weak (pictured: A nurse in Victoria receiving a Covid vaccine)

Justice Snaden said Monash Health denied that it was required to consult.

He said more markedly that their lawyer Chris O’Grady QC had highlighted that the disciplinary process would be commenced solely because the employees had not complied with the binding instruction.

Since October 15, Victorian healthcare workers have had to show employers that they were fully vaccinated from or that they had an agreement to receive a first dose before October 29 (image: A Victorian nurse receiving a Covid vaccine dose)

Since October 15, Victorian healthcare workers have had to show employers that they were fully vaccinated from or that they had an agreement to receive a first dose before October 29 (image: A Victorian nurse receiving a Covid vaccine dose)

“The course that has been plotted has been plotted because Monash Health has formed the view that the public health guidelines by which it is bound do not allow otherwise,” Judge Snaden said.

He found that disciplinary action and likely dismissal would have significant consequences for probably all employees, but given the weakness of their case, he found that it was not enough to provide the relief they sought.

Earlier, he had noted that if their case was upheld during the trial, they could request to be reinstated and to be compensated for the period in which they were wrongly rejected.

The whole case will be heard by another judge at a later date.

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