Brazil's top court rules that companies can require employee vaccination

FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station in Rio de Janeiro

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court on Friday suspended a government order that prevented companies from requiring employees to provide proof that they have been vaccinate against COVID-19 and stopped dismissals of those not immunized.

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic, has criticized vaccine passports required in other countries. Brazil has suffered the second-deadliest coronavirus pandemic outside of the United States.

Justice Luis Roberto Barroso said the pandemic had killed 610,000 Brazilians and it was reasonable to surmise that the presence of unvaccinated employees poses a threat to the health of the others.

"The lack of vaccination interferes with the rights of others," he wrote in his judgment, issuing an injunction sought by four opposition parties.

The government order was issued earlier his month by Labor Minister Onyx Lorenzoni, who said that allowing companies to fire employees who refuse to get vaccinated was absurd and a violation of their rights.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)