Qantas recently announced it would be mandatory for all of its 22,000 workforce to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And Dr Jerry Schwartz, who is Australia’s largest hotel owner, announced that all employees at Paradise Resort Gold Coast must be fully vaccinated.
“It’s a case of vaccinate staff or the hotel industry could perish,” said Dr Schwartz. He may be right and after nearly two years of surviving on a fraction of the revenue they are used to, many event operators, desperate to reboot their businesses may agree. His answer though, betrays the desperation behind the idea and begs the question of who underwrites a decision that feels like it’s been forced on an industry?
1/ Is the business covered if an employee leaves their position because they refuse to take a vaccine, and subsequently make a claim for unfair dismissal?
2/ What is the legal position of a business if an employee suffers debilitating side effects or worse, through taking a vaccine mandated by that business?
3/ What happens if an event business doesn’t mandate COVID vaccines and one of their employees passes on the virus to a guest, who becomes seriously ill?
4/ How do small and medium businesses treat those that cannot have the vaccine for medical or autoimmune disease reasons?
EventOrganisers is a Queensland based business and we contacted Work Cover Queensland, Legal Aid Queensland, the Human Rights Commission and Workplace Health & Safety Queensland. Not one was able to provide any answers to these questions.
Large organisations like Qantas and Dr Schwartz’s can afford inhouse legal counsel and will have weighed up the risk of a potential legal action against revenue opportunity. Small and medium sized businesses don’t have this luxury