The nurse argued that the vaccination requirement infringed on his right to privacy and that the suspension was made illegally as he had not received an interview with the employer prior to it.
On 13 June 2023, the administrative court of Caen (Calvados) declined to order the reinstatement of an operating room nurse at the Argentan Hospital. The nurse had been suspended from duties on 13 September 2021, for refusing to comply with the vaccination requirement established as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspended nurse had taken legal action to annul this decision and to have the suspension period considered as actual working time, entitling him to paid leave and career advancement. They argued that the decision was made illegally as he had not received an interview with the employer prior to the suspension. The nurse also claimed that he was not given the opportunity to use his accrued leave days.
The court highlighted that the employer’s obligation was to inform the employee promptly about the consequences of not being able to work, but this did not necessarily require a formal interview. In this case, a meeting had taken place on 13 September 2021, with the human resources director and the nurse’s immediate superior present, during which the nurse was informed of the obligations and consequences of not complying with the vaccination requirement.
The nurse also argued that the vaccination requirement infringed on his right to privacy, referencing a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from 8 April 2021. The court, however, pointed out that vaccination policies aim to protect public health and ensure the functioning of public hospital services, considering the rapidly progressing COVID-19 pandemic and the concept of herd immunity. Furthermore, the court noted that COVID-19 vaccination, supported by scientific knowledge, is generally associated with only minor and temporary side effects. The administrative court thus rejected the nurse’s request for reinstatement.