15/10/2018 at 6:54 pm #85022
There was a decision by a high court in the UK recently about the making of a cake.
In a unanimous decision, the U.K. Supreme Court said the bakery did not discriminate against a gay customer by declining to make a cake with particular wording added.
I thought about this, and I think the court got it wrong.
This is my reasoning:
Those in business must remain neutral. There are no friends or enemies in business.
A business is a public instrument, supplying goods and/or services.
All businesses need to comply with laws laid down by the ‘state’.
They should not run off at a tangent and make their own rules.
A business ‘trades’ with the public, and receives a fair profit for its endeavours.
If its trade is to bake and supply cakes, I fail to see how it can simply refuse without good reason.
Why would it want to?
It could be that it doesn’t have the facilities to make a particular type of cake, or perhaps the ingredients are not available.
Maybe there is a general strike, or illness amongst particular staff at that time.
That would all be understood and accepted by a prospective customer.
To refuse without good reason would not be right.
The above are all general concepts, which illustrate the responsibility a business has to its public.
However, the real disagreement seems to have been with the wording of a message to be added to the cake.
It was stated that the bakery took issue with the ‘slogan’ requested.
If part of the transaction was to put a ‘message’ on the cake, they should do so, provided that:
the message is expressed in standard everyday words, and not in obvious violation of any law.
(not written in a language they cannot understand either, as this might hide devious intent)
Without good reason to do otherwise, the business should remain neutral and add the wording to the cake.
To say ‘we don’t agree with the wording, so we are not going to do it’ means they are no longer neutral.
They are taking a stand based on a personal belief.
I fail to see how a public business can be allowed to behave in that way, when the proposed transaction is lawful.
This makes the decision by the court to reinforce that right thought provoking and worrying to say the least.
Logically, it should all hinge on a business remaining neutral when it trades with the public?
Instead, it seems sexual orientation and religious belief were allowed to intrude.
The court has the final say, but its decision has me perplexed.
I think the two lower courts got it right.
Do you, or should you, have any views on this?15/10/2018 at 7:10 pm #85023
Anyone, in business or just an employee has every right to decide what they should do. if a boss asks you to do anything which goes against your beliefs you should have the right to refuse.27/10/2018 at 8:18 pm #85156
Mal, I gave this more thought, and came to the idea that this is probably one of the few times we will disagree.
I can’t see that any person should allow personal beliefs or preferences to intrude in to his working life.
His duties and responsibilities should be set out clearly before the start of any employment, and understood by employer and employee alike.
Before accepting a position of work, a person should make sure he won’t have difficulty performing his duties because of a personal idea or belief.
When I was working full time, I would leave my personal attitudes outside the door when I arrived at work.
I went about my work in what I hoped was was a neutral but professional way.
It would not have been reasonable for my employer to require me to do something not directly part of my work though.
He could ask, and sometimes did, and then we might reach mutual agreement for something extra to be done on a one-time basis.
We all need to be flexible, whilst retaining sensible boundaries.
The owner of a business, who works at his premises, is effectively employer and employee at the same time.
He should do what he would expect any other employee to do: remain neutral and professional.
Not break the law, or do anything underhand or ‘suspect’.
And definitely not allow his personal outlook or attitude to ‘flavour’ his duties.
He should perform those duties without demur.
An extreme situation:
Imagine you hire a taxi to take you to premises where gambling takes place.
What if the taxi driver said to you: ‘I won’t take you there; I don’t agree with gambling’.
Should he allow his personal preference to intrude in to his working life?
Should he not remain neutral, and transport you to the place you want to be?
Would he have the right to disadvantage you in this way, and disallow your travel?
Then there was the case of the person trying to travel by taxi with his ‘seeing eye’ dog.
The taxi driver wouldn’t allow the dog in to his cab because of a personal belief about dogs.
The law very quickly made him aware of his error.
This really happened, in australia.
A personal example too: I once needed to ask someone about something, in another department at my place of work. The person I went and spoke with was quite rude in reply. I was surprised, and asked why the rudeness. The person said to me, rather nastily: ‘I don’t have to be nice to you, I don’t like you.’
As I barely knew the person, that was a most surprising response indeed.
Unfortunately, the ‘big boss’ happened to overhear what was said.
It saddens me to say so, but that rude person was out the door almost faster than I can type that it happened.
In retrospect, I should have ignored the rudeness, and simply gone on about my duties. I now think there was no need for me to ask. But the first remarks were overheard anyway, and the end result would probably have been the same.
I am sure we could all think of medical examples too.
What if a doctor refused to treat you because of some difference in culture or belief?
Would we all sit back and say, ‘that’s ok’?
I don’t think so!
Not good examples perhaps, but they serve to illustrate what I am trying to convey.
That no person should allow personal feelings to intrude in to the performance of his work-place duties.
So I still think that that high court got it wrong.
Unless there are factors we know nothing about.02/11/2018 at 10:45 am #85176
Thank heavens there are still some legal minds who haven’t yet fallen into the swamp of political correctness that rules much of our lives.
People who live their lives according to religious beliefs are still, for the moment allowed to do so.
“”The cake’s icing was to include the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” according to a report by the BBC.”
That’s a political statement in my book. What if a political candidate demands a message on a cake, like, support Green/Liberal/Labor/pokies candidate, etc?
Even so, it seems now, that minorities are allowed to set an agenda, whereby if they are offended in any way, it’s called discrimination.
The cake shop people were offended, yet their rights and beliefs are attacked. Who is the arbitrator of what is discrimination ?
I’m personally offended that those people went to such extremes to attack the cake shop people. Go to another cake shop for heavens sake.
Let others live their lives as they wish, which is what you ask of others.
We live in a world now, where we are frightened to open our mouths, the old time Aussie humour and carefree outlook on life has been drowned in a sea of pc.
(By the way, why is it always those of Christian beliefs who are attacked, and yet not others, some of which, hold very violent and anti human beliefs?)
Change is not always good.
I’m glad I am the age I am.
Someone sent me a link to a great, true , Australian story, which evokes the true spirit of what Australia was and never will be again. I may post it one day if anyone’s interested.
It gave me a little peace to listen to it.02/11/2018 at 4:31 pm #85178
My Dr is a Christian, if someone went to him wanting an abortion after 22 weeks, saying “I’ve changed my mind re having this baby, he’d reply, “No. I don’t believe in killing unborn Babies!”02/11/2018 at 9:48 pm #85179
The court action over that cake is interesting, and also somewhat perplexing, but it is surely not a reason for unrest Salina.
Life is full of these differences.
It could be said we should thrive on them. They are normal in day to day living.
Human nature being what it is, we cannot avoid them it seems.
You write: ‘The cake shop people were offended…’
It seems they were!
But they shouldn’t have been.
The shop owners are in business, a business run according to rules laid down by a democratically elected government.
Their personal views are of no consequence.
The public they cater to are not all the same as they are. That is a given.
That public they serve could be of many different faiths, and dress in many different ways.
That public can lawfully be ‘many and varied’.
The shop should not refuse legitimate service, requested by a member of that public, when such refusal is based on their personal beliefs.
A member of the public is entitled to request lawful service, and they should provide it.
I did have some doubts about the ‘Bert and Ernie’ characters, as I thought copyright or whatever might apply.
However, I decided to assume that all was ‘proper’ in that regard. It didn’t seem to be an issue in the article I read.
I also read that the person denied service did in fact get his cake made elsewhere.
But should he have been required to ‘shop’ around in that way?
The principle of the first shop failing to provide a lawful service was significant.
So, subsequently, it was quite properly brought to the attention of a court.
Two courts then upheld the right of that customer to expect a lawful service from the shop, and not to have the shop owners put their personal views in to the mix.
That was logical.
The high court reversed that determination.
I fail to see any logic in this latter decision. It is perplexing and worrying.
It could be held as an example, should a similar action be before the courts here.
One would hope australian courts would be more sensible and aware.
In the case of doctors, they should do all things they are required to do lawfully.
A mother wanting an abortion should and would have a good and sufficient reason.
I doubt just a change of mind would be her motivation.
Assistance should be granted without preamble where she is serious in her intention.
We certainly cannot ignore that she has the right to determine what her body does.
And we do need to be mindful that refusing assistance could cause a mother to seek other ways.
She could lose her own life in the process.
The result is the loss of her life and the life of her unborn child.
Two lives, not one. Not a good way to go. I don’t want that to happen.
I suppose I am tired of all the needless loss of life that is par for the course these days.
I have the idea a doctor has a modest amount of legal leeway in these cases, and can refuse.
If the refusal is legal, so be it.03/11/2018 at 11:40 am #85180
If refusal becomes illegal, and that’s the direction toward which we’re heading, the law should be changed.
Tulip, that’s a good example.
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