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Are tougher COVID-Safe liability laws needed?

Emma Ryan
25 June 2021 1 minute readShare

The question as to whether businesses need tougher COVID liability laws placed on them has been raised, with a Gold Coast compensation law expert noting that employers should have a greater duty of care.

Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers litigation director Bruce Simmonds said tough, new COVID safety laws may be needed to ensure businesses obey a duty of care to warn staff and the public if the business has employees who refuse to be or cannot be vaccinated.

“If employers have staff who are not vaccinated, they have a duty of care to the unvaccinated staff to ensure their safety and a probable duty of care to the public to warn them of the unvaccinated staff,” Mr Simmonds said.

“Any business has a liability duty of care for its workers and those members of the public doing business on the premises. The COVID pandemic has created a very confusing and difficult minefield of those who have been vaccinated and those who are not, either because they can’t have it or refuse to be vaccinated.

“Many people cannot have the COVID vaccination due to health reasons, not by choice. Those people deserve to be protected.”

Mr Simmonds believes there should be public liability for businesses if they do not take steps to ensure staff are vaccinated. This should be especially so in nursing homes and aged care facilities.

“Tougher penalties should also be on the books for those businesses and facilities that knowingly avoid or ignore COVID safety protocols,” he said.

“If an unvaccinated person knowingly brings in the virus, perhaps it’s time to talk jail sentences, heavy fines and compensation to those who are infected?

“This pandemic is far from over. Every day, we are only one quarantine dodger away from a resurgence of the virus throughout the community, and the new variants are worse and deadlier than before.”

Are tougher COVID-Safe liability laws needed?
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Emma Ryan

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