COVID-19 vaccinations: resolving workplace issues

Published 9 April 2021 | Updated 6 October 2021

Issues at work might arise for COVID-19 vaccinations. Learn how you can help resolve any workplace issues and where to go for the right help.

What you can do

We encourage employers and employees to work together to find solutions that suit their individual workplaces and needs.

From time to time, issues and disagreements can arise. Resolving workplace issues on your own can be quick and easy with the right information and tools. In our experience, most workplace issues can be resolved at the workplace.

Steps to take

There are some simple steps you can take to help you resolve any issues quickly and effectively. These include:

  1. Make sure you understand what rules apply to your situation – read our COVID-19 vaccinations: workplace rights and obligations page.
  2. Make a time to talk to your employer or employee first– read more at Communication in the workplace.
  3. Prepare for the conversation – take a quick course on having difficult conversations at work in our Online learning centre.

Learn more on what you can do to prepare yourself at Checklist for resolving issues in the workplace.

More guidance

Our main website has more information and guidance about resolving workplace issues. Visit Workplace problems.

Find other information and resources about dealing with issues or problems in the workplace during COVID-19 at Resolving workplace issues during coronavirus.

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Getting our help

In this section, you can find information about what we can help you with and what you can expect when contacting us about COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. 

When you contact us 

We’re currently experiencing a high volume of enquiries due to COVID 19. Our staff work hard to resolve your enquiries. When you contact us, we expect that you are cooperative, courteous and respectful. Please note our staff may terminate a call that becomes unreasonable, abusive, or aggressive. Read more about what you can expect from us and what we expect from you in Our commitment to you.

What we can and can’t help with

We can give you general information about coronavirus and Australian workplace laws under the Fair Work Act. This includes guidance about COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace. 

Please read our COVID-19 vaccination information first before calling us. Our information is reviewed and updated regularly as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and the vaccination rollout continues across Australia. This is also the information that our staff use and will refer to when answering your question.

There are some issues we can’t help with when you call us or when you lodge an online enquiry. These include giving you a definite answer about:

  • whether your direction or your employer’s direction to get vaccinated is lawful and reasonable 
  • whether you have been unfairly dismissed or adversely affected because you refused to be vaccinated (the Fair Work Commission external-icon.png can help with these issues)
  • the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccinations or other health information about vaccines
  • hypothetical situations. 

If we can’t answer your question, we will do what we can to give you general guidance and information that’s relevant to you. This could include a referral to another government body or letting you know the options available to you if you’re experiencing an issue at work. You can find information on other government agencies involved in Australia’s vaccination program at COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace

Legal advice 

You may need to seek independent legal advice to get answers to some of these issues. Find out which legal organisations you can contact at Legal organisations.

In some circumstances, we may refer eligible employers and employees who call us or make an online enquiry through My account to our Workplace Legal Advice Program. Find out more, including what criteria needs to be met, at Workplace Legal Advice Program.

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Referrals to other government agencies or departments

Other government agencies and departments can help you with these kinds of issues:

Workplace health and safety

For information about work health and safety laws and coronavirus vaccines – contact Safe Work Australia external-icon.png.

For disputes about work health and safety – contact your Commonwealth, state or territory work health and safety regulator or Safe Work Australia.

Discrimination

For disputes about alleged discrimination – contact your state or territory anti-discrimination body (which can consider and investigate breaches of state or territory anti-discrimination laws in workplaces) or contact the Australian Human Rights Commission external-icon.png.

Awards or agreements

For disputes arising under enterprise agreements, other registered agreements or awards – contact the Fair Work Commission external-icon.png.

Unfair dismissal or adverse action

For information and assistance about unfair dismissal or adverse action claims – contact the Fair Work Commission external-icon.png.

Employment contracts

For information about a specific employment contract – you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

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