Approaching Vaccine Status and Legal Rights

Just when you thought you had your COVID-safe plan down pat, don’t put it away just yet! It’s time to add a vaccination plan into the mix.

Vaccination requirements and mandates are a whole new set of challenges that venues, suppliers, couples and guests will be figuring out over the coming months.

We’re not here to start a debate, only to give a few tools that can help in navigating the government guidelines.

The Scenario Brainstorm 

When you start thinking about how many ways concerns around vaccination status, privacy, legal rights, and COVID-19 can come up, it starts becoming a little overwhelming.

Some possible scenarios are:

  • A couple asking you for proof of vaccination status
  • A couple choosing not to or unable to be vaccinated
  • A couple requesting you to enforce vaccination requirements or asking that you do not check vaccination status
  • If you employ staff, they may refuse to work at weddings where the vaccination status of guests is unknown 
  • Staff choosing not to be vaccinated or are unable to be vaccinated

The list goes on and the scenarios often change depending on your line of business. Makeup artists and hairstylists need to consider their close contact while caterers and venue operators may have a completely different set of scenarios.

Our advice in this instance is in three steps:

  1. Brainstorm and write down as many different scenarios as possible
  2. Select the top 4-5 scenarios that are most likely to occur
  3. Start researching your rights and responsibilities in each of these scenarios and write down a templated response or policy position

When choosing the scenarios, make sure they are addressing different audiences. For example, you might choose to write scenarios involving a couple that has booked with you already, a future couple looking to book you, the venue/supplier contact, and staff or wedding guests.

Once you have written these down, let the language you use and position you take be the foundation for how you respond to as many different scenarios as possible.

Doing Your Research

On the topic of vaccines and legal rights, it seems that nearly everyone feels like an expert. You will almost certainly have people try to counter your position or policies based on their own research. The best thing you can do here is research a few reliable sources of information and then, if needed, get legal advice.

As the first port of call, visit the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website. Because each state is approaching mandated vaccinations differently, we recommend you visit the website of the state or territory you live in or most commonly work in. The Australian Human Rights Commission is a good website to get your bearings on the topic and lists the relevant state and territory commission websites as well.

As a general rule of thumb, if you have any questions related to the statements on the website or the language they use, call or email them for clarification first rather than heading to social media for answers.

The next website to visit is WorkSafe or SafeWork (depending on where you live). This is more industry-specific information with guidelines for employers and employees. Again, we recommend visiting the national SafeWork website and then visiting your state or territory-based website for more information or you can visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website

If you cannot find information relevant to your industry, please call or email them. The more people who call or email asking for the same information, the more likely they are to address it in the near future.

Lastly, learn how to protect your business through well-written contracts and agreements and make sure you get any important statements in writing. If needed, contact a lawyer for assistance. If you would like to learn more about contracts and agreements, please watch this webinar recording with the founder of Event Law, Kathryn, discussing this very topic.