A dissenting member of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has labelled mandatory vaccines for workers “medical apartheid”. 

The FWC has handed down its judgement in the matter of a woman who was sacked from her job as a receptionist at a nursing home in New South Wales after she refused to get a flu shot last year.

The shots had been made mandatory by the New South Wales government.

The receptionist claimed she had a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot in 2016. She provided her employer with a letter from a practitioner of Chinese medicine to her employer to back up her refusal.

She also presented a letter from a GP outlining her allergic reaction, and wrote to the chief executive of the Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care to outline her opposition to getting the shot.

The Fair Work Commission has ruled that the woman cannot appeal her dismissal.

FWC vice-president Adam Hatcher and commissioner Bernie Riordan said Ms Kimber's cannot appeal against her dismissal, saying she had “held a broader anti-vaccination position” and had “Googled all sorts of stuff” about the side effects of vaccines.

They said they would not, “in the circumstances of the current pandemic … give any encouragement to a spurious objection to a lawful workplace vaccination requirement”.

But their colleague, FWC deputy president Lyndall Dean, has issued a dissenting judgment, saying she “strenuously disagreed” with what she describes as a “serious injustice”. She also disputed the suggestion the receptionist was an anti-vaxxer.

“All Australians should vigorously oppose the introduction of a system of medical apartheid and segregation in Australia,” she wrote.

“It is an abhorrent concept and is morally and ethically wrong and the anthesis [sic] of our democratic way of life and everything we value.”

Ms Dean said that although the case was about the flu shot, it is relevant to the debate about compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.

“Blanket rules, such as mandating vaccinations for everyone across a whole profession or industry regardless of the actual risk, fail the tests of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness,” she said.

“It is more than the absolute minimum necessary to combat the crisis and cannot be justified on health grounds.

“It is a lazy and fundamentally flawed approach to risk management and should be soundly rejected by courts when challenged.”