Folau to fight ‘unlawful’ ARU dismissal
DUMPED Wallaby Israel Folau is expected to launch legal action against Rugby Australia later this week.
Folau earlier this week told the Australian Financial Review he had hired law firm Macpherson Kelley to prepare a challenge after he was fired for publishing an Instagram post that paraphrased the Bible by saying hell awaits homosexuals, as well as drunkards, adulterers, atheists and other "sinners".
The organisation's decision to dismiss him on May 17 left Folau with a 21-day deadline to file a challenge under the Fair Work Act. That deadline expires Friday.
His claim would reportedly involve claims of breach of contract and unlawful termination under the Fair Work Act, which protects employees from being sacked because of their religion.
"We believe Rugby Australia and the (NSW) Waratahs have acted unfairly and unlawfully in their treatment of Israel," Macpherson Kelley's head of employment, George Haros, said.
"Israel has several options available to him at this point, and we are considering his next steps."
Folau seemed to think he did not get a fair code of conduct hearing from the ARU.
"I was disappointed by the way Rugby Australia handled my hearing, and it has been difficult to read stories in the media that are simply untrue," Super Rugby's record tryscorer said.
"All I ask is to be treated fairly and by the law. I feel confident in my team's ability to defend and protect my legal rights."
Rugby Australia for their part insisted his dismissal was a pure breach of his contract.
"This is simply down to an employment matter where an employee signed a contract indicating that he would not disparage based on sexual grounds and he did that,"
Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne said this week, claiming other workplaces would have reacted the same way.
The case has already been referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman by a Liberal senator seeking a ruling on whether an employer can sack an employee for expressing their religious beliefs on social media outside the workplace.
The news comes as ARL Commission Chairman Peter Beattie again denied rugby league would consider signing Folau to a new contract in the wake of reports that he was set for a return to the NRL.
"Our position on Israel Folau remains the same," Beattie said.
"We are an inclusive game with respect for all. Israel has social media posts online that go against what our game stands for.
"As it stands, he will not be considered for registration. What Israel chooses to do in relation to his social media posts and his faith is a matter for him."