An employer can give you lawful and reasonable instruction, and wilfully ignoring a lawful and reasonable instruction can be considered serious misconduct which can lead to termination.
The crucial issue is whether an instruction is ‘reasonable and lawful’.
An employee cannot be expected to follow an employer’s directive ‘if carrying out such a directive would cause serious or imminent risk to the health or safety of the employee or other workers’.
Refusing to follow a directive under such circumstances does NOT constitute serious misconduct and therefore CANNOT result in summary dismissal.
The AEAWA would consider inadequate Infection Prevention & Control measures as constituting a serious/imminent risk to the health of yourself, your co-workers and your patients, especially during a declared health emergency pandemic. Therefore in our opinion an instruction which would lead to such an OH&S risk will be neither lawful nor reasonable.