The Swedish personal assistance company Lystra has announced that it will be laying off any staff who remain unvaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus, the first company in the country to do so.
Lystra, which provides assistance to people with various disabilities including both physical and mental disabilities, announced that they would be either relocating or laying off staff who refuse to take a Wuhan virus vaccine.
The company justified the move by claiming that it would protect customers in groups at risk of a serious case of the virus, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Jesper Gullstrand, the company’s HR manager, told the broadcaster: “The reactions have been predominantly positive, but there are also negative thoughts about this. When people feel forced to vaccinate, among other things.”
Around 15 to 20 employees are believed to be affected by the new policy, with at least one former employee stating that she had been released from her position due to not being vaccinated.
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As the company is the first in Sweden to fire people based on vaccination status, no legal challenges have yet been made, but employment lawyer Lars Bäckström told Sveriges Radio that generally employers have a right to set certain employment conditions.
However, employment lawyer Annette Olofsson, from the Stockholm-based firm LO/TCO rättsskydd, stated that her firm believes that employers can not require workers to be vaccinated or indeed fire them for refusing to do so.
While Sweden had been one of the most relaxed countries during the first year of the pandemic, the government has become more restrictive in recent months, introducing vaccine passports at the start of December for events with over a hundred participants.
Prior to Christmas, Swedish Minister for Social Affairs Lena Hallengren even recommended that Swedes consider abandoning their Christmas travel plans if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus, even if they are fully vaccinated.