Israel Folau Expected To Take Unlawful Termination Case To Federal Court After Unsuccessful Mediation

Published July 22, 2019 (last updated July 21, 2020)

Israel Folau’s unlawful termination case against Rugby Australia looks set to move onto the Federal Court, with the potential for a vast reaching changes to Australian laws.

Permission to take the case to the Federal Court was granted by the Fair Work Commission, who issued a certificate granting the right to do so. Folau and his legal team now have two weeks to lodge a statement of claim with the Federal Court.

“We are now considering our options, which includes the possibility of court action,” said George Haros, Folau’s solicitor, according to the ABC.

This case may change how employee rights are viewed in Australia, with Folau’s freedom of religious expression set to go up against Rugby Australia’s rights with regards to an employment contract.

Folau’s case coincides with the Morrison government’s potential future review of any amendments to religious freedom laws.

Rugby Australia, Folau’s employer, decided to terminate his contract earlier this year after the $1 milllion-a-year footballer published a post on Instagram that said homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented.

Folau, a fundamentalist Christian whose church was examined in an article by Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter Kate McClymont over the weekend, is arguing that this post was merely expressing his religious views.

Rugby Australia (RA), on the other hand, sought to dismiss Folau for breaching their Code of Conduct, specifically their social media policy.

“We will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality,” RA said in a statement last month.

“We will remain focused on getting on with the job of building our game, supporting our teams, encouraging more people to play rugby and upholding the values that generations of Wallabies and Waratahs have represented with pride.”

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