Moray & Agnew unveils vaccine mandate policy

Moray & Agnew unveils vaccine mandate policy

27 October 2021 By Jerome Doraisamy

National law firm Moray & Agnew has introduced a mandatory workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy, which will take effect from 1 December 2021.

Under the policy, anyone who attends a Moray & Agnew workplace (including any social events) will have to be double vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of vaccination status will have to be sighted by a member of the firm’s people and development (P&D) team and/or a staff member’s relevant office manager.

The policy will apply to all partners, staff, contractors, volunteers and guests attending firm workplaces.

Exemptions to the policy are set to be reviewed “on a case-by-case basis”, according to an email sent to all staff, which was viewed by Lawyers Weekly.

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Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Moray & Agnew head of people and development Georgia Siabanis said that feedback and comments from staff assisted the firm’s partnership in considering and ultimately determining its approach to a mandatory vaccination policy.

“Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our people and the broader community – in reaching this position, we have had to consider workplace health and safety, the impact of public health orders, the nature of the work we undertake in the courts, with witnesses, the general public, our clients and external service providers,” Ms Siabanis explained.

In the email to all staff, the firm – which has over 100 partners and 600 staff across its offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle and Perth – said that its aim was “to develop a policy that was suitable and comprehensive”.

“Many of you have told us that you welcome this type of policy,” the email noted.

“We know that, for some, there may be further discussions that take place with your supervising partner and P&D over the next few weeks.”

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The news follows reports from the Australian Financial Review, noting that BigLaw firms Gilbert + Tobin and Mills Oakley have mandated vaccinations for staff returning to the office.  

It also follows recent comments from John Tuck and The Honourable Graeme Watson, who are the head of employment and labour and a partner at fellow BigLaw firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, as to whether mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies will be the new norm in workplaces.

Numerous senior lawyers have considered whether law firms can introduce mandates for COVID-19 vaccinations, while the Human Rights Law Centre posited in August of this year that vaccinations should not be mandated outside of high-risk areas.

Elsewhere, Gilchrist Connell principal Joel Zyngier has opined about misconceptions about and lessons from workplace vaccine mandates, as well as factors to consider when introducing such a mandate.

Moray & Agnew unveils vaccine mandate policy
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