Special Report: Staff privacy and vaccination information

15 October 2021 00:00

By Yoness Blackmore, Senior Legal Writer, Practical Guidance Employment

Vaccination information – if you have this data, how can you use it?

Vaccination is a word on almost everyone’s lips these days. It’s a tough issue for both businesses and workers, many of whom may have already made personal decisions either way; or are in the process of doing so.

However, the key issues are not just about vaccination decisions, there is also a big question around whether businesses can keep records about workers’ vaccination status.

This is yet another Pandora’s box of potential missteps for businesses, with seemingly competing and contradictory legal and policy considerations relating to mandating or supporting vaccination in the workplace.

Should businesses collect vaccination status data from staff, or not?

Ultimately, when deciding whether vaccination information is going to be collected, a business should first consider why it wishes to do so and whether it is really necessary.

In situations where a public health order requires vaccination, the decision may be easier and vaccination information will likely be kept in accordance with the public health order.

This may also be easier when an employment or services contract lawfully requires the provision of vaccination information as a condition of employment or engagement. It is likely that many businesses going forward will include such clauses for new staff.

Complete the form to download the complimentary special report LexisNexis® Special Report: Staff privacy and vaccination information.*

The report addresses key legal issues and answers many frequently asked questions, including

  • Should businesses collect vaccination status data from staff, or not?
  • What happens if a business breaches Australian Privacy Principles when demanding proof of vaccination?
  • Collecting vaccination information – what are the rules?
  • What are the National COVID-19 Privacy Principles?
  • How does the employee records exemption apply?
  • Does a business have unfettered rights to demand vaccination information?
  • What should businesses do when seeking consent from staff to share their vaccination information?
  • Is the “carrot and stick” approach helpful when asking about workers’ vaccination status?
  • What are the ongoing privacy obligations once vaccination information is collected?
  • What are the overarching human rights issues around mandatory vaccination requirements?
  • Where to from here?

* This report was updated on October 15 and renamed 'Staff privacy and vaccination information.

Practical Guidance Employment is a how-to resource for workplace law practitioners, human resources professionals and In-house Counsel dealing with workplace law matters.
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From the recruitment and advertising stage to fair treatment in the workplace and termination of employment, this module will guide you through your legal matter.

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