Employer obligations: Covid vaccine mandates (recording)

A free recorded webinar for members of the Law Society

What are the legal obligations and responsibilities for employers as their staff return to work?

As lockdown restrictions ease in the ACT and the workforce returns to the office, the issue of workplace vaccination mandates is of critical concern. The Law Society's Industrial Relations Committee presents this very topical webinar, featuring an expert panel facilitated by Committee Chair John Wilson of BAL Lawyers. Panellists will address key issues such as:

  • What duties and obligations do employers have to protect their employees (and patrons) from risk when attending the office, including the risk of contracting Covid?
  • Can employers mandate workplace vaccinations? If so, can employers request immunisation records if no current organisational settings exist?
  • Under what conditions could non-vaccinated employees continue to work? 
  • Is there liability for an employer if a vaccinated employee contracts Covid from a non-vaccinated employee, or vice versa?
  • If a business required staff to confirm their vaccination status, in the event of a positive case in the workplace, could that mean that you could exclude your non-vaccinated staff from the workplace for a period to protect them while vaccinated staff could continue to attend? Would that be reasonable under current workplace law, or would additional protections be needed for employers to take such steps? 
  • Are we likely to see insurers getting involved in workplace vaccination mandates?
  • What will future workplaces look like while 'learning to live with' Covid?

With so many questions to consider around the legality of workplace mandates and the health of the returning workforce, this is a webinar not to be missed.

Our expert panel comprises the following speakers:

  • John Wilson, Legal Director - Employment Law & Investigations, BAL Lawyers (faciliator)
  • Peter Strong, former CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia
  • Dr Daniel Suan, Research Officer - Immunogenomics Lab, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Karen Toohey, ACT Discrimination, Health Services & Disability and Community Services Commissioner
  • Katie Weir, Barrister, Key Chambers 


  • When: This is an on-demand webinar you can watch at anytime - a link and password will be sent to you when you register
  • Members will earn 1 CPD unit in core area 4 (substantive law)
  • Cost (incl GST): Complimentary for members, $40 non-members
  • This webinar was recorded on Wednesday 3 November 2021. It will expire on 28 February 2023


Member Free Register
Non-Member $40.00(GST incl.) Register



John Wilson, Legal Director - Employment Law & Investigations, BAL Lawyers (Faciliator)

John Wilson is a leading Canberra-based employment lawyer. He was accredited as a specialist in Industrial Relations and Employment Law by the NSW Law Society in 2001, has been the chair of the ACT Law Society’s industrial relations committee since 2001 and, since 2017, a member of the NSW Specialist Accreditation Employment and Industrial Law Advisory Committee. John has been continuously recognised in the “Best Lawyers in Canberra” list for Labour and Employment Law and Occupational Health and Safety Law since its inception in 2013.  He has acted in numerous precedent-setting cases, regularly advising individuals, local businesses and international companies in high-profile disputes.  Such is John’s recognition as the expert’s expert that many of his clients are referred by other lawyers. John is a thought leader in the workplace relations space. He is a prolific author, writing for The Canberra TimesThe MandarinEthos: Journal of the ACT Law Society, the NSW Law Society JournalHR Monthly and the Australian Financial Review alongside appearances on ABC Radio National and 3AW.  He formerly lectured on employment law at the University of Canberra. John joined BAL lawyers as a partner in 2004, and has been its Managing Legal Director since 2009.  He was previously the founder and principal lawyer of a workplace relations consultancy firm, and before that led the employment practice group of a national law firm.

Dr Daniel Suan, Research Officer - Immunogenomics Lab, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Daniel grew up on the sunny West Coast in Perth where he studied medicine before moving to Sydney to train as an Immunologist and Immunopathologist at Westmead and St Vincent's hospitals. He then undertook his PhD studies with Professor Rob Brink at the Garvan Institute, investigating how the immune system makes antibodies and memory cells in response to vaccination. Dan has now returned to Westmead Hospital as a Staff Specialist, where he combines his clinical and laboratory interests with his research program studying the genomic basis of human autoimmune diseases. 

Karen Toohey, ACT Discrimination, Health Services & Disability and Community Services Commissioner

Karen has been the ACT Discrimination, Health Services and Disability & Community Services Commissioner since 2016.  After a career in marketing and IT in the private sector, Karen joined the Australian Human Rights Commission in 1995 and has since  worked in senior executive  roles in state and commonwealth human rights agencies since. Karen has  qualifications in law, marketing and computing science and is a well known advocate on issues of human rights and discrimination law.

Katie Weir, Barrister, Key Chambers 

Katie joined the ACT Bar in 2021, and practises predominantly in workplace law, discrimination, industrial relations, and commercial disputes. Before coming to the Bar, Katie practised as a solicitor for more than 10 years, in Canberra and Perth.  She worked as a prosecutor at the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, where she conducted civil penalty prosecutions of employers for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). For the last 5 years, Katie was Special Counsel in HWL Ebsworth Lawyers’ workplace team, where she advised Commonwealth government and corporate clients on employment issues, and appeared in the Fair Work Commission and the Federal Courts. 

Peter Strong, former CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia

Peter Strong retired from the CEO position of Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia in September 2021 and had been in that role since June 2010.

Peter is recognised nationally and by political parties and media as the voice of small business people in Australia. For over a decade Peter has advocated for the self-employed to receive the same considerations as employees when it comes to human rights and health issues. Peter has featured frequently in the media, at the National Press Club and in government committees and boards. He has focused on streamlining workplace relations, competition law, contract law and generally improving communications with and expectations of the self employed in particular those who offer employment to other citizens.

Peter continues to work on ‘Community Economics” and is developing further work around Podcasts and workshops focused on politics and influence. Peter also owned Smiths Alternative Bookshop in Canberra for many years successfully converting it to a music and arts venue now known as Smiths Alternative.

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