Israel Folau launches legal action against Rugby Australia over sacking

Israel Folau launches legal action against Rugby Australia over sacking
Image: Image: Israel Folau / Instagram.

Former Wallabies player Israel Folau has filed a law suit against Rugby Australia following the recent termination of his contract.

Folau, who was sacked over a number of anti-LGBTI posts on his social media profiles, has said he’s taking the action in pursuit of his “right to religious freedom”, according to RNZ.

According to reports, Folau wants the Fair Work Commission to rule that his employment was terminated because of his religion.

In a statement that confirmed his case had been lodged, he said “no Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion”.

“Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion,” he said.

“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.”

Folau also confirmed that he had engaged commercial law firm Macpherson Kelley and a prominent industrial relations barrister to act for him in his dispute.

In May, Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia was terminated following a code of conduct hearing.

The three-member panel tasked with providing Rugby Australia with a recommendation on how to proceed – John West QC, Kate Eastman SC, and John Boultbee AM – ruled that Folau’s four-year contract, reportedly worth $4 million, should be severed as a result of his recent anti-LGBTI social media posts.

Chief Executive of Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle, confirmed that Rugby Australia had accepted the decision of the panel, but said the outcome was “a painful situation for the game”.

“Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation, but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action,” she said.

In April, Folau posted on Twitter that Tasmania’s legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people were a sign that people should “REPENT and turn away from your evil ways”, drawing criticism from Rugby Australia’s major sponsor Qantas.

He later posted an image on Instagram which stated that “hell awaits” gay people, similar to the social media posts that landed him in hot water last year.

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5 responses to “Israel Folau launches legal action against Rugby Australia over sacking”

  1. Appeal, then appeal some more all the way to the High Court of Australia – lets waste more millions of taxpayer money on this, to prove a point on a legal precedent – just like when we Australian taxpayers wasted $250 million on a postal survey on same-sex marriage. Lets just follow what Alabama just did within the US – and abolish and repeal marriage licences completely, because hardly anyone gets married these days in 2019 and the 50% of ones that do marry end up divorcing within 4-5 years anyway and clogging up the Family Law courts!

    Next we can legally ban unscientific conversion therapy, remove all gender/sex signs on bathrooms and then finally remove all gender/sex on birth certificates, drivers licenses and passports. THE GAY AGENDA 2020.

  2. I hope the Rugby Australia lawyers can also bring this up in their defense (I’m sure there’s plenty more too, it only takes a quick google search on what the bible says about judging others):

    All of these quotes from the bible say NOT TO JUDGE / CONDEMN / ATTACK OR SPEAK DESTRUCTIVE THINGS ABOUT OTHERS. And yet that’s EXACTLY WHAT HE DID! Yet he’s saying this is “religious freedom”?! It has nothing to do with his religion, as his very own religion tells him exactly not to do these things:

    “Don’t judge anyone by your human limitations. Only God’s judgments are flawless” (John 8:15-16).

    “Don’t be quick to condemn someone else’s actions. God is patient, but He doesn’t overlook anyone’s disobedience, especially yours” (Romans 2:1-5).

    “Don’t attack each other. Try to be a good example so others won’t copy your bad behavior” (Romans 14:13).

    “Don’t speak destructive things about others. Are you qualified to perfectly judge someone else?” (James 4:11-12).

  3. This has absolutely nothing to do with a person practicing her/his religion.
    It is all about Freedom of Speech. It is all about spreading Hate. It is all about inciting using religion to justify Hate. It is all about inciting others to Hate and Vilify others
    Christ taught us that we should love All – Men and Women and in particular those we consider to have sinned. Christ taught us we should have Compassion for All.
    Folau and his fellow extremists don’t know what it means to be a Christian.
    They don’t act as Christ taught.
    With their attitude of Hate they are not, nor ever have been, Christians.666666666666666

  4. I’m tired about hearing from this self-righteous bum.
    He was well paid for playing rugby & his personnel views on anything else are irrelevant & should have been kept to himself.
    I hope that the RU authorities vigorously fight this as it could set a dangerous precedent for other deluded ‘celebrities’.

  5. “In a statement that confirmed his case had been lodged, he said “no Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion”.”

    Even as an atheist I guess I say fair enough. The fact is though that Folau was not sacked for his faith. He was already well known for his Christian faith when he went over to rugby union, they hired him anyway. He frequently practised his faith and is on YouTube giving sermons etc, he stayed employed. His faith is not and never was an issue.

    What he got sacked for was his Instagram post which paraphrased without context a small passage from the bible which he used to be divisive and hateful. He bagged out gay people and suggested gay people can choose not to be gay when he said “repent”, but rather than face challenge on the simple modern science of this he hides behind words which are thousands of years old.

    He also bagged out other Christians such as Catholics when he called on “idolators” to repent – like many fundamentalist protestant Christians, Folau regards catholics as idolators. Catholics say Folau and many of the rest of us are going to hell because we’re not catholics, so both sides are bad here, but Folau is definitely not being constructive.

    His employment requires him to be good at Rugby and attractive to sponsors. His faith prevents neither. His Instagram post on the other hand was a good reason to sack his arse.

    I hope the Rugby Australia lawyers ask him to find the bible passage which requires Christians to get nasty on Instagram. It’s the only way the claim “he’s being sacked for being Christian” will stand up.