Brazil Bans Employers from Firing Unvaccinated Workers

A commuter wearing a facemask gets his COVID-19 vaccine at the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Recreio station during the first day of no mandatory use of facemask outdoors in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 28, 2021. - Rio de Janeiro is lifting its Covid-19 mask requirement for outdoor areas …
MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty

The Minister of Labor of Brazil issued an ordinance on Monday prohibiting employers from requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination from their workers for “hiring or maintaining employment,” O Globo reported.

“It is considered a discriminatory practice to have vaccination certification mandatory in the selection process for hiring workers, as well as the dismissal for just cause of an employee due to the non-presentation of a vaccination certificate,” the decree, signed by Brazilian Minister of Labor Onyx Lorenzoni on November 1, reads.

An employer may establish coronavirus guidelines and encourage its staff to receive coronavirus vaccinations, according to the new ordinance.

“However, companies cannot dismiss for cause if any employee does not present their vaccination card. If they do, they may opt for the worker’s reinstatement or for the payment, in double, of the remuneration during the period of absence,” O Globo, a Rio de Janeiro-based newspaper, detailed.

The choice of whether or not to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccination “belongs only to the citizen,” Labor Minister Lorenzoni said in statements issued via social media on Monday.

“It is within the scope of your individual freedom and that has to be respected,” he affirmed.

Members of the ‘Conservative Movement’ protest and hold banners against mandatory cornavirus (COVID-19) vaccination at Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

“It can be an airline, a distributor, or a store. You have to respect Brazilian legislation and the rights of Brazilian citizens and that is why the ordinance was issued, prohibiting any and all dismissals for this reason,” Lorenzoni said.

“This document has a single objective: to preserve the right to freedom, guarantees to work and access to work for millions and millions of Brazilians,” the labor minister said of the anti-vaccine mandate ordinance.

The Regional Labor Court of São Paulo ruled in July that a local municipal hospital had “dismissed with just cause” a cleaning assistant at the facility who had recently been fired because she chose not to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

A street vendor sells shirts and flags with the image of President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro during a protest against mandatory cornavirus (COVID-19) vaccination at Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

The court said the employee’s “private interest cannot prevail over the collective,” Correio Braziliense reported on July 22, noting that the trial and its ruling were unprecedented.

“Christiane Aparecida Pedroso worked as a cleaning assistant at the Municipal Children’s Hospital Marcia Braido, in São Caetano. On the day scheduled for the vaccination, she did not show up and was later fired for just cause,” Correio Braziliense recalled.

“Christiane was discharged on February 2 of this year for an act of indiscipline. She was hired by Guima-Conseco, a company that works in the area of ​​outsourced labor, mostly for hospitals,” according to the newspaper.

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