Folau takes fight to Fair Work Commission
Sacked rugby player Israel Folau has filed an application with the Fair Work Commission, alleging unlawful termination of his employment.
The applications were filed against both Rugby Australia Ltd and Waratahs Rugby Pty Ltd, confirming the rugby star’s intent to seek a declaration that his employment was unlawfully terminated because of his religion.
Under section 772 of the Fair Work Act, it is unlawful to terminate employment on the basis of religion.
The news follows yesterday’s report that Mr Folau had engaged national firm Macpherson Kelley and industrial relations barrister Stuart Wood AM QC to represent him in the dispute against his now former employers.
Via his legal representatives, he said he felt his treatment by Rugby Australia and the Waratahs had left him no choice but to stand up for his beliefs and the rights of all Australians.
“I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation. Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us,” he said.
“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. No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion.”
According to the applications filed earlier today, the termination of Mr Folau’s employment contract prevented him from playing at the peak of his career and on the cusp of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, being held later this year in Japan, “which would have likely generated even greater exposure and opportunities”, it said.
As such, Mr Folau is seeking substantial remedies from his former employers, should they be found to have breached the Fair Work Act in terminating his employment.