Folau sues Rugby Australia for millions
NEWS: Sacked Wallabies fullback Israel Folau launched legal action Thursday against Rugby Australia’s decision to dismiss him over a controversial social media post, saying he was seeking “substantial remedies” from the governing body.
The devout Christian said he was defending freedom of religion by taking his case to Australia’s employment watchdog the Fair Workplace Commission.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Folau will seek up to AUS$10 million in damages if his sacking is deemed unlawful in the Federal Court
“No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion,” the 30-year-old said in a statement.
Folau’s contract was terminated last month after a Rugby Australia tribunal found him guilty of a “high-level” code of conduct breach for posting on social media:
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Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________
Folau opted not to appeal against the tribunal ruling, voicing a lack of confidence in Rugby Australia’s process.
Instead, he has taken his case to the court system, saying his treatment left him “no choice but to stand up for his beliefs and the rights of all Australians”.
“The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded,” he said.
Folau’s statement revealed the argument his legal team will pursue, including his assertion that he simply posted a message from the Bible.
“The termination of Mr Folau’s employment contract prevented him from playing at the peak of his career and on the cusp of a Rugby World Cup, which would have likely generated even greater exposure and opportunities,” it said.
“Accordingly, Mr Folau is seeking substantial remedies from his former employers.”
The action, which names both Rugby Australia and his Super Rugby club the Waratahs, claims of breach of contract and unlawful termination under the Fair Work Act, which protects employees from being sacked because of their religion.
Additional source: Sydney Morning Herald