The disgraced rugby player, Israel Folau has launched a $10 million lawsuit against Rugby Australia.
Israel Folau was dismissed from his position at Rugby Australia earlier this year after a series of homophobic tweets surfaced. At the time he was one of the highest-paid sportspeople in Australian sport.
In April the Australian Rugby Union served Israel Folau with a contract ending breach notice, following on from offensive social media posts, one of which said that “hell awaits” gay people and bashing transgender people, using his Christian beliefs as a defence for his views.
In June Folau and Rugby Australia entered mediation at a Fair Work Commission hearing. There was no resolution after a near four-hour meeting.
Now Folau has apparently filed a lawsuit and wants a cool $10 million in compensation from Rugby Australia to cover the loss of sponsorship and potential future contracts.
Free Speech, Religious Freedoms or both?
Under the Fair Work Act, it is not legal to sack an employee for an employee’s religion. Folau’s suit is a test case in this area and could determine “whether the word ‘religion’ should be interpreted to include protection for an employee’s religious expression and activities” according to employment layer Josh Bornstein.
Many of Folau’s supporters have raised concerns over whether the player’s right to free speech was curbed.