SEVERAL businesses in Scone have received an anonymous letter threatening to sue them if they don’t allow unvaccinated customers into their business.
The letter was sent to a range of businesses, claiming unvaccinated customers are the customers who have kept their businesses operating and they should continue to serve unvaccinated people otherwise it will impact their business and will result in a lawsuit.
scone.com.au asked local solicitor Ben Hoffman if there were any grounds for a lawsuit and his answer was simple and clear, “no.”
“There is a lawful public health order in place and businesses are required to abide by it,” said Mr Hoffman.
“But moreover they have a duty of care to their employees and the general public and that duty of care would likely extend to preventing undue risk of covid infections,” he said.
“Businesses are fair more likely to be sued successfully if they have not abided by the rules, by letting unvaccinated people into their business and there has been an infection because of it,” he said.
“Considering there are 90 percent first vaccination rates the people who are opposing vaccination are now a tiny minority,” he said.
“There have certainly been no successful law suits in Australia due to a business withdrawing services in accordance to the public health orders.
“I’m not even aware of any law suits even making it to court for refusing service to unvaccinated people, because most lawyers would understand it would be a waste of time
“There is a case being brought against the Minister for Health in the Supreme court, but that is challenging the Health Minister’s power to issue public health orders,
“I would be advising businesses to comply with the public health orders and where in doubt act protectively of your employees and the general public
In terms of claims that businesses are ‘discriminating’ Mr Hoffman said, “a private business abiding by a lawful public health order is not discriminating.”
The Australian Human Rights Commission sets out what is unlawful discrimination, which includes:
- disability, or
- race, including colour, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status
- sex, pregnancy, marital or relationship status, family responsibilities or breastfeeding
- sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
“It does not meet any lawful definition of discrimination,” said Mr Hoffman.
“The vaccine is not mandatory, nobody is being held down against their will and being given the vaccine, it is absolutely a choice for people to be vaccinated,” he said.
“Everyday we abide by laws, there are laws that we can only drive on the left hand side of the road, whether we like it or not and there are consequences for not adhering to the law,” Benjamin Hoffman said.
The anonymous author of the letters directed the businesses to contact Banga Legal for more information. Scone.com.au attempted to contact Banga Legal, which were unavailable.
However, Ben Hoffman can be contacted for legal advice here: Hoffman and Associates.
Read also: Editorial: Business and buyers beware.