A worker dismissed for refusing to get vaccinated wrote to the company asking for $100 million in gold bullion and cash. 123/rf
A port worker who refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and who then sought $100 million in cash and gold bullion from his employer has failed to get his job back while his dismissal is further investigated.
The request for the money was made in a “declaration document” sent to the employer, which included allegations that “murder” had taken place as a result of alleged injuries caused by the vaccine.
This and a series of other actions he claimed had been carried out by the company, the board and its employees were of enough concern that the police were notified, the Employment Court noted in its decision released last week.
The Employment Relations Authority initially declined the worker’s application for interim reinstatement to his job, pending an investigation into his personal grievance of unjustified dismissal.
He then challenged the decision in the Employment Court which has now agreed with the authority.
The worker, whose name and details remain suppressed, had been with the employer since 2018.
The Public Health Response vaccination order against Covid-19 came into effect in April 2021. The worker fell into the category of the first tranche of workers for whom vaccination was required unless they got a medical exemption.
The worker who lodged the claim was unvaccinated and made it clear he had no intention of getting vaccinated against the virus.
Judge Joanna Holden noted in the court’s decision that there was some initial confusion as to whether the order covered the role performed by the worker.
“Initially, the advice provided by the Ministry of Health was that it did not, but subsequently, that advice changed to say that it did cover people such as the plaintiff.”
The worker was concerned about the immediate and long-term effects of vaccination.
At a meeting in late September 2021, he was given more time to consider options for redeployment, which he declined because the role paid about half what he was earning in the role he had.
The worker provided the employer with two medical exemptions, but closer inspection revealed they did not appear valid.
Neither doctor named on the certificates appeared to have examined the worker, because they lived in different parts of the country.
One doctor had not signed the certificate which was on a Professionals for Medical Informed Consent and Non-Discrimination form that consisted of a series of boxes, some of which were ticked.
After further correspondence between the parties, the employer offered to pay for the worker to visit a GP for assessment as to whether a medical exemption was warranted.
On November 7 last year medical exemptions became governed by a centralised Ministry of Health-controlled process that involved the director general of health deciding whether a medical exemption should be granted.
A few days later the worker’s job ended.
On November 22 he sent a letter to the employer alleging it was in breach of “the common laws of England” and that they needed to “cease and desist all coercion”, failing which a complaint would be made to the relevant authorities.
On December 31 another person, named as a third party, emailed the company claiming that a vaccinated port worker, who was previously completely healthy, had become extremely ill with myocardia.
The person said that due to “the company’s mandate” it would be legally liable if the worker died as a result of the vaccine in which case the company would be “sentenced to five years’ imprisonment or fined $3 million”.
The email ended: “Enjoy this New Year’s Eve because it looks likely that you will be spending the next one in prison.”
In March this year, the ERA was forwarded additional documents received by the company, including a “notice of declaration for debt verification and tort damages” in which the dismissed worker was noted as the “beneficiary” and the company and several others within it, as “trustees” of the organisation.
The notice of declaration claimed that any deaths arising from Covid-19 vaccinations would denote that “a murder had taken place” and that the company and its employees had conspired and coerced the dismissed worker into being a party to the “mandate deception”.
The ERA said that among other things, the notice demanded payment of $100m, one-tenth of which was to be paid into the man’s bank account and the remainder to be paid in gold bullion.
He had signed and thumb-printed the document in red ink, witnessed by two other individuals whose signatures and thumbprints were marked with the same bright-coloured ink.
ERA member Peter Fuiava was ultimately satisfied the worker did have an arguable case of unjustified dismissal, including that questions remained as to whether the redeployment opportunity offered was “fair and reasonable”.
But he did not consider the worker had established a “serious question to be tried” concerning permanent reinstatement, including that the role had since been filled.
It then followed that there was no order for interim reinstatement.
Judge Holden followed up by saying the statements made, particularly in the declaration document dated January this year, were “very serious” and understandably caused upset to the defendant and its employees.
She acknowledged that the issue of mandating vaccination against Covid-19 had been contentious but considering the evidence it would not be reasonable to require the defendant to reinstate the plaintiff.
“The necessary trust and confidence no longer exist.”
The employer was now entitled to seek costs.