Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Telstra faces class action over vaccine mandate

Telstra has been hit with a class action, led by a former employee, after introducing a compulsory vaccination policy last year for customer-facing staff.

user iconLauren Croft 11 March 2022 Big Law
expand image

A class action launched in the Federal Court will seek to prevent Telstra from mandating vaccination against COVID-19 for its staff, after the telco was alleged to have breached its enterprise agreement with its vaccination policy.

Former Telstra employee Jodi Wruck filed the class action in the Federal Court last week on behalf of “at least seven” group members – only two of whom have been named – who are part of 8,300 workers who were mandated by Telstra to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

In September last year, the telecommunications giant introduced a new COVID-19 policy, which stated that employees who had regular contact with customers and members of the public would need to be double-vaxxed by November.


Ms Wruck was an installer repairer for Telstra, who terminated her employment in December last year after she declined to get vaccinated. She alleges her former employer breached health and safety duties. Second applicant Irwin Davis, who has been a senior solutions specialist with the telco since 2016, is currently facing termination after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

As reported by The Australian, Federal Court documents allege that Telstra “exposed … group members to a possible risk of adverse health including serious illness and death”.

“The proposed COVID-19 vaccination policy was a matter relating to and which affected the work health or safety of workers,” the documents stated.

“Telstra was aware or ought to have been aware that the taking of COVID-19 vaccinations had been publicly reported to cause health problems in some individuals.”

A Telstra spokesperson told Lawyers Weekly that the vast majority of its staff have been supportive of their vaccine policy – and said that the roles impacted as part of the COVID vaccination policy are majority “covered by state and territory public health orders, mandating vaccinations to perform essential telecommunications work”.

“We undertook extensive consultation before we introduced our vaccination policy, including extending the period for consultation and making changes to our policy approach based on constructive feedback from our employees and unions.

“The vast majority of our people have been supportive of our approach and we’ve so far given away the equivalent of $5 million worth of incentives to over 20,000 employees who are fully vaccinated,” the spokesperson said.   

“We’re still reviewing the application that has been filed with the Fair Work Commission, but we remain confident the right approach has been taken to protect our employees and customers, and is consistent with recent legal decisions regarding vaccination.”