A Tasmanian sex worker has had her anti-discrimination complaint dismissed, after her rental agreement was terminated because she admitted to providing "full service" at erotic massage parlours.
Between July 19, 2019 and about November 18 of the same year, the complainant rented rooms at Studio 152 on Bathurst Street in Launceston on multiple occasions, and a room at Studio 14 on Goulburn Street in Hobart on one occasion.
The woman made a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in December 2019, alleging discrimination and conduct which was offensive, humiliating, intimidating, insulting or ridiculing her on the basis of engaging in lawful sexual activity in connection with accommodation.
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On November 18, 2019, the complainant met with the owner of Studio 152 and the owner's partner at a cafe in Hobart, admitting to them that she had been engaging "full service" - the colloquial term in the sex industry for penetrative sexual services - at the Studio 152 premises. The couple decided that this was in breach of the rental agreement and later advised the complainant they were terminating their agreement.
But about November 19, they discovered that the complainant had used photos the owner had taken of her at Studio 152, featuring furnishings and fittings from the property, in her own private advertisement, which also referred to the Studio 152 website and advertised full service.
While the relationship between the complainant and the respondents had been amicable up to this point, the owner's partner sent the complainant a strongly worded text message that day, in which he called her a "lowlife".
The commissioner accepted the language used in the message "would be offensive, insulting and intimidating" to the complainant, but said it was clear that the comments were not in relation to lawful sexual activity but, rather, the ad containing images of the complainant taken at Studio 152 and promoting full service.
The final decision of the Anti-Discrimination Commission concluded that the complainant had not been discriminated against on the basis of lawful sexual activity and that the prohibition of sex in the rental agreement was not unreasonable, given its intention to protect the health, welfare and safety of renters and the fact that the majority of renters supported the condition.
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