This rule is not only directed at prostitution, but from occupants operating any business offering goods or services from guest rooms. There are obvious exceptions to this rule and this can include guests contacting job interviews, reps showing a range of clothing to retailers etc and this is generally disclosed by the guest before arrival. The accommodation provider has the choice to accept the guest or not, but as these activities generally do not cause disturbance or offense to others, consent is freely given.
Generally, the accommodation provider will be happy to accommodate a guest that wishes to invite a handful of locals in for a low-key in-room business seminar, however most will draw the line at hosting a working girl to service several local clients. Is the accommodation provider being discriminatory?
GK, a sex worker from Gold Coast reckons she is being discriminated against by a motel in Australia’s Queensland state that refused her a room and has sought $30,000 in compensation.
In this case, GK alleged discrimination after being turned away from a motel claiming that under Queensland law she was permitted to engage in lawful sexual activity. The sex worker has also claimed that she was asked unnecessary questions about being a sex worker and that the motel charged over-the-odds because of her status as a sex worker.
The breakdown of the $30,000 award sought by the sex worker is interesting: $10,000 is for hurt feelings and $20,000 is to cover economic losses calculated on the basis that her average daily earnings of $2,000 from seeing four to eight clients (an admirable workrate!) If she had been able stay at the Drover's Rest Motel, she would have booked 10 more trips.
While the moteliers at the Drovers Rest Motel acknowledged that they could not discriminate against the guest's profession, they claimed that they were unable to accommodate the working girl under the provisions of the Liquor Act.
It was pleasing that the Anti-Discrimination Commission dismissed the case. It was ruled that the moteliers did not refuse future accommodation to a sex worker because of her occupation, but rather because they did not want prostitution undertaken in their motel.
It was concluded that an accommodation business owner can dictate some questionable activities that guests engage in from their guest rooms that includes conducting "business activities."
...But GK has appealed the decision.
"GK appealed to the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal on the grounds that many people use the telephone or internet at the motel for business, and a bed or a room was no different.While New Zealand motels operate under a different jurisdiction, the Queensland case could set the scene on how Kiwi accommodation providers vet working girls.
Tribunal members questioned whether a lawful sex worker was any different to a travelling accountant or solicitor who also conduct businesses from motels and hotels.
“How do you exclude one type of business and a not another type of business,” one tribunal member said.
“The legislation as it stands permits lawful sexual activity, (if not hotels) where’s it supposed to happen? In people’s own homes,” he asked.
The decision is expected to be announced soon."
The outcome will be very interesting...