A Canberra business owner has been cleared of discrimination over firing a contractor for voting No on marriage equality.

Madlin Sims, owner of Capital Kids Parties, ended her business relationship with the contractor after seeing her supporting the anti-equality Coalition for Marriage on Facebook, Out in Perth has reported.

The contractor, known as Madeline, had changed her profile picture to the ‘It’s OK to Say No’ message used against marriage equality.

“Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech,” Sims responded on Facebook.

“1. It’s bad for business.

“2. I don’t like s**t morals.

“3. I don’t want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.”

The case was referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman, and highlighted as an example of the conflict that could arise between equality and freedom of speech or religion.

The Ombudsman has ruled that the business has no case to answer over firing Madeline.

In addition to insufficient evidence as to whether she was technically a contractor or employee, it noted that protection from discrimination is only in relation to specific protected attributes, such as sexual orientation.

“Discrimination occurs in the workplace when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because of a protected attribute,” the Ombudsman wrote in a letter to the business.

“As the FWO has been unable to determine the nature of the engagement based on the evidence available, we will be taking no further action in relation to this matter at this time.”

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