‘Take vaccine or face termination’

Scott not afraid to be sued over restaurant policy

The owners of Sushi Rokkan restaurant at Old Fort Bay Town Centre are mandating that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30, 2021, warning that failure of staff to adhere to the policy may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal.

“Sushi Rokkan has a duty to provide and maintain a safe workplace. We are adopting this policy to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our customers and visitors and the community at large from COVID-19, which is reduced by vaccinations,” a notice to the employees reads.

“In making this decision, management has reviewed recommendations by the World Health Organization and the government of The Bahamas. 

“As government’s rollout of vaccine administration has not proceeded with the speed and efficiency we had anticipated, we are giving you ample opportunity in the form of two months’ notice, before rigid implementation of this policy.”

It notes that employees who are unwilling to be vaccinated on medical grounds will be required to support their objections by providing medical certificates from qualified epidemiologists, virologists or immunologists or other equivalent medical specialists.

“In that event, management will endeavour to reassign you appropriately although, given the nature of the company’s business, this may not be possible,” the notice reads.

“Termination may then be inevitable. Unsupported or unjustified refusal to be vaccinated will result in the immediate termination of your employment.” 

The restaurant is jointly owned by Michael Scott, QC, and his wife.

Scott said yesterday that he had been hearing “all types of garbage on social media all day long”.

He noted that he is “not paying attention to all that misanthropic, half-baked, illogical nonsense”.

“Nobody is going to intimidate me,” Scott told The Nassau Guardian.

“Nobody is going to threaten me and have me pay attention to any threats and they can threaten to sue me. But, I have a larger duty — so does my wife — to protect the general body of staff that works for these restaurants as well as protect the dining public.

“The minute it gets out that somebody got infected dining in the restaurant, the business is done. It’s finished. You might as well write it off. Secondly, that’s not the kind of reputation you want or my wife wants.”

Scott said Bahamians need to get used to such policies.

He said there will come a time when individuals who are not vaccinated will not be able to travel.

“Countries such as the United States, such as Canada, such as European countries, such as other countries in the Caribbean are going to require you to have proof of vaccination [and] in other words, what has colloquially been referred to as a COVID passport,” Scott said.

“If you do not have that, you won’t be able to leave your front door.”

More than 15,000 people have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine since vaccinations started in The Bahamas last month.

The prime minister and other government officials have repeatedly advised that it is not mandatory for Bahamians to get vaccinated, although they have urged them to do so.

Officials recently announced that individuals who work in restaurants are now among those who may make appointments to be vaccinated.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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