Rugby Australia’s hand could be seriously weakened in the ongoing saga with Israel Folau, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that no “social media clause” inserted into his last contract.
With Folau’s contract terminated by his employers on Monday after another homophobic social media display last week, the star fullback’s fate will be known later this afternoon as the 48 hour period to appeal the termination expires.
It is understood that Rugby Australia will instead argue that Folau breached their “player code of conduct” for vilifying others due to their sexuality. Folau meanwhile, could argue he’s been punished for expressing religious beliefs.
A spokeswoman for the Workplace Employment Lawyers’ office told the Daily Telegraph the possible legal avenue Rugby Australia could be forced to take.
“‘Free speech” in the workplace is qualified by employee’s obligations under their contract. In this case, it appears that Folau was told about Rugby Australia’s policies and its expectations in relation to his conduct,” she said.
“Given the history, and as Folau is a public figure, Rugby Australia is likely to have grounds for taking disciplinary action which may include termination of his contract.”