Former Wallabies star Israel Folau is not the first Australian to be fired on a post on social media – and a top lawyer has warned that the problem will only get worse.
Josh Bornstein, who represented three people who were fired for expressing controversial opinions on Twitter, has spoken out against employers who suppress freedom of expression.
The chief lawyer for class action lawyer Maurice Blackburn described social media layoffs as & # 39; a dramatic violation of our personal rights and it will only get worse & # 39 ;.
Israel Folau is not the only Australian who gets fired on social media messages with a lawyer in the field of the highest job, warning that the problem will only get worse (he is pictured with his wife Maria)
& # 39; The effect is that you begin to interfere with people's ability to participate in democracy with all that goes with it, including disagreement and controversy and sometimes offending other people & # 39 ;, he told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr. Bornstein has represented Safe Schools maker and academic Roz Ward, who was suspended by La Trobe University in 2016 to describe the Australian flag as racist.
His other customers were Angela Williamson, who last year fired Cricket Australia for criticizing Twitter Tasmania's lack of abortion procedures in public hospitals.
Then there was Scott McIntyre, who was fired an SBS sports reporter four years ago over a series of Anzac Day tweets describing Australian Diggers as murderers, rapists and thieves, under pressure from former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Safe Schools Academic Roz Ward, who was suspended by La Trobe University in 2016 for describing the Australian flag as racist (she is depicted with the Victorian Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister James Merlino)
Folau, a fundamentalist Pentecostal Christian, was fired by Rugby Australia last month, calling for a tweet of drunks, homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, liars, fornication, thieves, atheists, and idolaters. to convert.
Employment lawyer Josh Bornstein expected more people to be fired via Twitter messages
Mr Bornstein said that social media clauses in employment contracts deprive employees of their freedom from work.
& # 39; They are cast in a very broad language, which means that an employee must always be at his best on a 24-7 basis, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; If you are caught on a tram or are unreasonably in a quarrel with someone and that is recorded on an iPhone, you could technically violate your employment contract. & # 39;
In the aftermath of the Folau saga, Mr Bornstein called on the federal government to amend the Fair Work Act so that no one can be fired at social media posts that are unrelated to their jobs and do not advocate illegal activities or violence.
Angela Williamson was fired by Cricket Australia last year for criticizing Twitter Tasmania's lack of abortion procedures in public hospitals
& # 39; The only way to tackle that range is to introduce laws that will address that problem in employment contracts. There are no laws that do that right, & he said.
COMPLETED FOR HEADINGS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
Roz Ward: The co-creator of the Safe Schools program was suspended by La Trobe University in June 2016 for a Facebook post describing the Australian flag as racist. She had posted an image of the rainbow flag for gay rights in addition to the caption: & # 39; Now we just have to get rid of the racist Australian flag of the state parliament and get a red one there and my work is done & # 39;
Angela Williamson: Hobart's wife was fired from Cricket Australia last year for tweeting a series of criticisms about the reluctance of the Tasmanian liberal government to offer abortions in public hospitals
Scott McIntyre: The journalist lost his job as an SBS sports reporter in 2015 after criticizing Diggers on Anzac Day. His series of tweets had described war veterans as murderers, rapists, and thieves.
& # 39; Consider the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by this & # 39; brave & # 39; Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan, & # 39; said one of the tweets.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, while still a communications minister, lobbied SBS to dismiss the reporter
& # 39; Instead, we occasionally see a case like the one we see at Israel Folau, where an employee invokes anti-discrimination legislation to say that the contract has been used effectively to violate anti-discrimination provisions. & # 39;
Mr Bornstein said that social media clauses in employment contracts encourage vigilantism on social media, putting pressure on companies to dismiss staff through social media.
& # 39; They often focus on that person's employer and put pressure on their employer, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; It encourages vigilance. Instead of the organization having the backbone to say, "It's not an issue for us, go away" they capitulate and dismiss the individual.
He blamed companies obsessed with brand management & # 39; a concept that is very easily invoked and not at all to measure scientifically & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The words & # 39; brand damage & # 39; are often used and I think it is often misused because organizations that claim a risk or actual brand damage often continue to flourish like our banks, & # 39; he said.
Mr Bornstein, who also represented trade unions, said that social media, after inspired layoffs, did not only affect cultural conservatives such as Folau.
& # 39; We have left vigilantism and right vigilance. So you destroy their livelihood. & # 39;
Since Monday, the Australian Christian Lobby has raised more than $ 2.1 million to fund Folau & # 39; s legal battle against Rugby Australia in the Fair Work Commission.
This is almost three times the $ 765,000 he raised through Go Fund Me before the American crowdfunding site closed it.
Scott McIntyre was fired four years ago by an SBS sports reporter about a series of Anzac Day tweets describing Australian Diggers as murderers, rapists and thieves, under pressure from former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
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