The large accountancy and consulting firm Deloitte has been asking employees for a corona QR code on a sample for a week when they come to work. Experts say that‘s not allowed. But Deloitte says they want to provide employees with a safe environment.
“It’s been a tricky trade-off. It‘s decided: you don’t have to come to the office, but if you want, you should be able to show the QR code,” says Liesbeth Mol, member of the Board of Directors of Deloitte.
This is a question, Deloitte underlines. Employees don‘t have to show the code if they don’t want to. There is no control at the door, nor is there any record. But: employees who don‘t want to show the code will be asked to return home.
That doesn’t put anyone in front of the block according to Deloitte. Specialists have assured the company, according to their own say, that it is allowed. Mol: “A lot of our people like this. We talk to people who have doubts. There are no protests so far.”
Many companies are now struggling with the same dilemma: ask your staff whether or not they are vaccinated?
Companies have a duty of care and many employers are concerned about workplace safety due to the presence of unvaccinated employees. But because of privacy, they‘re not allowed to ask about it.
In America and in a few European countries, companies are demanding a vaccination certificate. It remains relatively quiet in the Dutch workplace. At the end of August, Leaseplan announced that it only wants to see vaccinated employees again.
These three Deloitte employees don’t mind the company asking about their corona pass:
There is still a lot of ambiguity around whether or not you can ask an employee if they are vaccinated, says employment lawyer Maarten van Gelderen.
“That‘s because of waking policies. It wasn’t supposed to be at first, then the minister says. But I believe that you should not ask such a question on the basis of constitutional provisions.”
FNV trade union is also clear: “This is about violating medical privacy,” says Vice-President Kitty Jong. “Workers‘ fundamental rights are at stake.”
Employees who don’t want to show a vaccination certificate when asked for it can refuse to cooperate and if they don‘t work out, go to court with their boss. Although the question is whether employees want to go against their boss.
It will be all about how a judge would judge, says Evert Verhulp, professor of employment law (Uva). “I’m curious. The balancing of interests will be different at an accounting firm than a hospital or production line. On the one hand, the accounting firm has an obligation to ensure a safe workplace. But on the other hand, the question is whether such a vaccination certificate is really necessary to ensure that. You may also think of other measures. Keeping distance is not a problem at such an office on the Zuidas, seems to me.”
‘Rights to set aside ‘
That‘s what FNV Vice President Jong says. “There are plenty of other ways to ensure that the workplace is safe and healthy.”
By the way, it’s not that difficult to establish custom guidelines in the law, according to Verhulp. “By law, you can set aside Article 11, on the right to the inviolability of the body, quite simply. But then you have to get a majority for that, of course.”