Legal Insights

Covid 19: Can employers require their employees to be vaccinated?

Recently, two major employers in New Zealand have stated that they plan to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory at their workplace. In the absence of a Health Order making vaccinations mandatory to all New Zealanders, this position of the employers has led to considerable debate in the business community.

The Employment Relations Authority in their recent determination in GF v New Zealand Customs Service upheld the decision of the employer to dismiss a border worker who refused to be vaccinated. This determination was fact-specific to border workers however the Authority did provide valuable insights for the wider business community. 

Some key considerations that an employer need to take before making vaccinations mandatory at the workplace are:

  • Firstly, the employer must conduct an extensive risk assessment and ascertain whether the risks may be eliminated or if the risk can be minimised in other ways. This risk assessment process must involve workers, unions and other representatives.
  • Before drafting the mandatory vaccination policy, the employer must consult with all the affected employees and explain the need for such policy. 
  • If a particular employee refuses to take the vaccine, then the employer should genuinely consider the employee’s reason and consider other options before deciding to dismiss the employee. 

Therefore, at present it seems unlikely that employers can implement a policy requiring mandatory vaccinations in the workplace without good health and safety reasons. Employers must assess their COVID-19 exposure risk to decide whether certain work warrants a vaccination.  

If you require further specific advice on this issue or have any other employment concerns, please contact one of our lawyers to assist you.

By Saurav Satyal

Saurav Satyal, Solicitor

The advice above is current at the time of writing, 20 September 2021. This article is published for general information purposes only. Legal content in this article is general and should not be relied upon as legal advice.


Moving to Level 3

Even though our premises must remain closed after Auckland moves to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 September all staff continue to be able to assist you via phone, email or video calls.

We have video call functionality in place for face to to face meetings, including document signing. If you need declarations taken or documents witnessed, we are able to do that in most cases by video call.

Property settlements will now be easier in Level 3, as people are allowed to move house, including tenants who need to move out or in. Most agreements have specific clauses that cover Covid Alert Level changes. Please contact us directly by phone or email for any specific concerns.

Most of our staff continue to work from home except for those who can’t, and those who are working on court matters which fall within the definition of essential services. For updates on all Court matters please contact your lawyer.

Our premises will remain closed to the public and will not reopen until Auckland moves down to Alert Level 2. he main thing is still that we all stay safe. Keep to your bubbles, ask for help where you need. Enjoy that takeaway coffee! We are here for you! Let us know what you need.

News and Events

Covid 19 Update

We remain open for business during Alert Level 4, however our physical offices are closed.  

All our staff are contactable by email or phone. Our reception phone will be answered as usual Monday to Friday 8.15am to 5.15pm.  

All staff direct dial numbers and email addresses can be found on our website.   

We will have video calls in place for face to face meetings, including for document signing. We will complete property settlements where we can, but please be aware, generally in Level 4 no one is allowed to move house, you need to wait for Level 3. Most agreements have specific clauses about Alert Level changes now.

As we receive updates from the Courts, your lawyer will update you if you have any matters in Court this week or next week.

Please contact us directly by phone or email for any specific concerns.    

The main thing is that you and we all follow the rules and stay safe. Keep to your bubbles, ask for help where you need.   We are here for you! Let us know what you need.  

The Team at Corban Revell

Legal Insights, News and Events

Brian Phillip Najib Corban

I well remember the first time I heard Brian speak publicly. It was in the late 1990’s. Someone from our firm was leaving, presumably for better pastures. Brian happened to be at our second office on Lincoln Road as the firm gathered for the farewell. He lingered. After some initial routine speeches, Brian stepped forward and spoke.

He talked about the firm and about the set of family values that he and Phillip Revell incorporated into its foundations when they set out to establish “Corban Revell Lawyers” in 1977. There was the immediate command of the room, through his demeanour and his speech. “a statesman”, I thought, as we all stood captivated: He kai a te rangatira, he kōrero. But more than that, his words of good family values in a law firm resonated with me.

I knew Brian was from a big family, but his declaration that good family values were key was not only a fundamental part of our firm, they were a natural part of the way in which he practiced the business of law. Family and business could not only mix, it was expected to be so. The communal could happily co-exist with the individual pursuits, and vice versa. It was a moment when I received confirmation from Brian, a founding father, that I had made the right choice in commencing my law career with Corban Revell Lawyers in 1994. Law firms will more regularly today liken themselves to families, and advocate a work place based on good family values, but I know that through Brian, that kind of thinking has been here since 1977. It is thinking that in relation to the profession was well ahead of its time.

Brian leaves a mark in the law that we are proud to continue. It is a mark of utter professionalism and of ethics and of kindness and of service. They guide us daily in the way in which we serve our clients and our communities. His skill in commercial transactions is not doubted, with many of his more significant deals particularly those involving land, still bearing his reputation after all these years.

We are proud, even privileged, to carry on Brian’s name as the name of our firm. His name is still said by many of our clients who are still with us and who will often remind me, “Brian was my first lawyer, so look after me as he did!”.

There are also the law books comprising our substantial library that Brian acquired for the firm over the years and which have his distinctive signature on the inside cover. One on my desk at the moment is the classic text “Learning the Law” eighth edition, Glanville Williams, and with the words “Brian Corban 5/3/73” inscribed inside. I like to think of Brian every time I pick up one of his books.

There is also for me his work as a Waitangi Tribunal member that maintains his legacy, and one inquiry that has a personal element to it. In 1997 he was a member of the Kaipara Tribunal. It was headed by Dame Augusta Wallace, with the other members being Sir Michael Basset, Dame Areta Koopu, and Sir John Turei. A formidable panel indeed! It was the first Tribunal that I appeared before and somewhat imposing. But Brian put me at ease. Just before I stood to give my address, Brian stood. He announced to the proceeding, again in a very statesman like and eloquent fashion, his connection to me through our firm. I like to think that it was his way of affirming our whanaungatanga, and of acknowledging the good family values that he and I stood for. Nō reira, Ka nui te mihi ki a koe e te Rangatira Brian.

Brian inspired me. He still does. He will be missed. His legacy will live on.

No reira e te Rangatira, hoea to waka ki o tupuna, haere, haere, haere atu ra.

Brian’s funeral is Friday 7 May 2021, 1pm, at St Micheals, 425 Great North Road, Henderson.

Ngā mihi nui, John Kahukiwa, Managing Partner, Corban Revell

News and Events

Our business at Level 3

As Auckland will be in Covid Alert Level 3 until midnight Wednesday 17 February 2021 we advise the following :

1. We will be unable to have client meetings on the premises until at least Thursday 18 February, we will keep you updated when we know more

2. Video call meetings are available, including for signing and witnessing of documents as they have been for the last year – please contact your lawyer or legal executive to organise.

3. All our lawyers are working normal hours and Cherie will be on reception as usual directing calls from 8.15am to 5.15pm.

4. For all existing court matters please contact your lawyer and they will tell you what is happening when they know.

5. For any new matters, please call reception on 09 837 0550 and your call will be appropriately directed. Take care everyone, it’s just three days at this stage and we’ve done it before. Call or email us, it’s just a case of business as we have come to know it, we’re here for you!

The Team at Corban Revell