Fired for refusing to disclose COVID vax status, Manitoba man sues pharmaceutical giant Bayer

A Manitoba man is suing pharmaceutical giant Bayer, claiming he was fired for refusing to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

The lawsuit claims that the man’s employment relationship was terminated in January “without just cause” and in violation of his employment contract. CBC News does not name the man due to personal health information.

He had worked for approximately 18 years at Bayer Inc., a company with divisions that included pharmaceuticals and agriculture, operating in Germany, the United States and Canada, including Winnipeg.

He was a program manager and did his work entirely from home, both before and during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his complaint filed April 7 at the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg.

The lawsuit claims that her vaccination status for COVID-19 or any other disease was not among the terms of her employment contract.

Bayer Inc. implemented the vaccination requirement unilaterally and made it effective in January 2022, the claim says.

“It was not a term of his employment contract that had an obligation to disclose personal health information,” the statement said, adding that the man requested a policy exemption but was denied.

Since he worked from home, “neither his job duties nor the employment contract required an in-person interaction with the defendant’s other employees (Bayer Inc.), his clients or other interested parties,” the claim states.

Vaccination “a pillar of public health”: Bayer

The allegations have not been tested in court and Bayer has not yet filed a defense brief.

“Bayer is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace, including reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection for employees,” a company spokesperson said in an email to CBC News.

“As a life science organization, we believe in the effectiveness of vaccines. Vaccination against COVID-19 is a pillar of public health guidelines and key to providing a safe working environment for all of our employees and those with whom. come into contact “.

Bayer said it will not comment further on matters relating to the litigation. The actor’s lawyer also declined to comment.

A Toronto employment lawyer says workers dealing with the impact of vaccination status on their jobs are among the most common problems employees have faced in recent months. (New Africa / Shutterstock)

Toronto labor and labor lawyer Lior Samfiru, who is not involved in the case, says his company has represented clients across Canada whose jobs were affected by their vaccination status.

“I can tell you that this is one of the most common problems employees have faced in the past six or seven months, which relates to their vaccination status and the impact of that status on their jobs,” he said in an interview.

“A wrongful dismissal means that you are fired without compensation. So, if a proper dismissal was paid, it would not be a wrongful dismissal,” Samfiru said.

The lawsuit claims that the employer has not compensated the man and is asking for an unspecified sum of money as general compensation for the wrongful dismissal.

He also seeks compensation for aggravated and punitive damages for the way he was fired, such as failing to provide him with a positive reference letter and asking him to disclose personal health information without a legitimate reason.

Health care requests: lawsuit

The employer asked the man to “take care of personal health, despite his vaccination status having no rational connection with his job duties, and he stopped his job when he refused to do so,” says the court document.

He says that as an employee who worked entirely from home, Bayer’s request to disclose personal health information and subsequent termination of his employment was contrary to the Manitoba Human Rights Code.

“If this employee actually works exclusively from home, it makes the situation a lot more ridiculous,” Samfiru said.

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