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Businesses warn against religious laws



News

By Loren Webb

Under new draft laws, businesses with annual revenues of $50 million or more will face stricter controls on firing workers for expressing religious views in breach of their employment agreements.

The legislative change is designed to placate concerns about the recent sacking of Australian rugby player Israel Folau for sharing controversial religious views on social media.

Big business is calling for an overhaul of the proposed religious freedom laws before parliament votes on them, warning of a negative impact on workplace standards.

Businesses are warning proposed religious freedom laws will give employees too much leeway to breach company policies on social media.

The Australian Industry Group says firms need to be able to maintain workplace standards and impose reasonable rules on staff.

“From an employer’s perspective elements of the exposure draft would potentially have significant impacts,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox told The Australian Financial Review on Thursday.

“These impacts need to be very carefully evaluated before any legislation is introduced into parliament.”

Large companies will have to prove they would suffer “unjustifiable financial hardship” if they kept the worker.