Photo: Ashraf Hendricks / GroundUp

A landmark ruling? CCMA upholds unvaccinated worker’s dismissal

In what could be a landmark ruling, the CCMA found that a company’s decision to fire an unvaccinated worker was fair.


Photo: Ashraf Hendricks / GroundUp

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) recently found that a company’s decision to fire an employee who refused to be vaccinated was fair.


Theresa Mulderij, an employee of the Gold Rush Group, took her former workplace to the CCMA after she was fired for not complying with the company’s mandatory vaccination policy.

According to SABC News, in the arbitration award granted on 21 January, the company said Mulderij was dismissed because she did not create a safe working environment for her colleagues.

CCMA Commissioner Lungile Matshka ruled that the dismissal was “substantively fair” and dismissed the complainant’s application.

“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,” said Matshka.

According to News24, Mulderiji worked for the company as a business-related and training officer since 2018.

The CCMA heard that because the complainant was in a public-facing job – interacting with clients and employees – she could not be moved to another position.

The Gold Rush Group Executive decided to implement a mandatory vaccination policy in 2021 – before implementing it the company’s management reportedly consulted with its employees and their unions for three months.

The CCMA heard that employees were given the opportunity to apply for exemption and that the vaccination policy was implemented to protect workers.

A witness also testified that Mulderij refused to be vaccinated. In her defence, she said it was her Constitutional right to refuse the jab.

The arbitration added that the complainant felt under the cosh because she had to decide between earning a living and taking the vaccine.