Moranbah motel appeals discrimination ruling

A MORANBAH motel is appealing a ruling it discriminated against a sex worker, who was banned from returning to the motel after staff realised she was running her business from their rooms.

The Drover's Rest Motel told an out-of-town sex worker in June 2010 she could not longer stay at its facility.

The sex worker, who had stayed at the motel in the resource rich region over a two-year period and used the rooms to service clients, claimed it was made clear she could not stay there because she was a sex worker.

But the hotel manager argued she told the woman she had nothing against prostitutes but did not want them working in her motel.

The Anti-Discrimination Commission referred the complaint to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The sex worker, referred to only as "GK", sought $30,000 in damages in 2011 for humiliation, economic loss and stress suffered from the motel rejection.

QCAT dismissed the application for damages but last year found the motel did contravene the Anti-Discrimination Act by banning the prostitute.

The motel has appealed the decision.

In a hearing in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday19/3, counsel acting for the motel, Stephen Sheaffe, said GK was not refused future accommodation because she was a sex worker but because she planned to perform sex work in the hotel.

He said that distinction was very important.

Mr Sheaffe referred to legal arguments about status, attribution and comparison to determine whether a person had been discriminated against.

He explained there would be no discrimination against either a sex worker who intended to innocently sleep at the hotel or a non-sex worker who intended to also conduct similar activities at the hotel.

It was not a case where GK was seeking to use the room for sleeping but as a place where prostitution could occur, he said.

The sex worker has claimed throughout the case she was overcharged because of her occupation and asked unnecessary questions about her job.

An earlier QCAT judgment revealed GK's conduct only arose when a fellow motel guest complained about men coming and going from her room.

QCAT had accepted she conducted her business discreetly.

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision.  

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