Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Worker dismissed for expressing same-sex marriage views

Worker dismissed for expressing same-sex marriage views

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten earlier today said no-one should be fired over their choice to vote yes or no in the upcoming survey.

When he was asked about the 18-year-old woman who was sacked from her job at a children's party business because she opposed same-sex marriage, the Prime Minister said "freedom of expression is an absolutely fundamental part of our way of life as Australians".

The employer has stated her own position on the case, which has since blown up on social media, explaining via a Facebook post that she views voting no in the postal survey as homophobic, and something that could have negative implications for the reputation of her business.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation-owned news outlet Triple J Hack reports that Madeline added a Coalition for Marriage "It's OK to Vote No" filter to her Facebook profile photo on August 29, a filter that was set to expire just days later.

Ms Sims then took to Facebook herself, arguing that advocating against same-sex marriage was homophobic "hate speech", adding she did not want her business linked with the contractor's views.

"I have been raised a Christian my whole life and in the bible God clearly states that a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, are not to be together", she said.

Fair Work will need to determine whether Madeline, who had worked just two shifts for the business, falls under the jurisdiction of unfair dismissal since she was claimed by Ms Sims to be a contractor, not an employee.

"We work with children who might be gay and they don't know it yet, we work with children who have gay parents, who have gay uncles, a lot of our staff members are gay", she said. We entertain at parties where gay children attend.

Last month, Australia's most senior Catholic threatened to fire any of the Catholic Church's 180,000 employees should they marry their same-sex partner. "This. Woman. Was. A. Risk".

So now when people want same-sex marriage, most people say, 'Yes, why not, who am I to say no?' It's very hard for young people to say no, because saying no puts them at risk of being bullied, it makes them seem like a homophobe. "I respect you have your own morals, as does everybody any (sic) I'm sorry to let you go but we can't have you on any further".

Sims even admits that her firing of Madeline was "bigoted". How can you honestly believe you are entitled to fire someone based on how they vote?

Sims claims the worker refused and was aggressive towards her brother, explaining to the ABC's Hack program that while the worker's support for the "No" campaign was subtle, she won't tolerate any such views from employees.

The millennials and the generation I'm in now, the LGBTQI community is something we've all grown up with and are very accepting of.

"If I'm attending a party and dressed up as Minnie Mouse and the child there is same-sex attracted I'm going to love that child like I would any other child".

If that is found to be the case, it could breach the worker's protections under the Fair Work Act, Koelmeyer says.

"It is unlawful for an employer to take any action against an employee on the basis of a political opinion", he said.

An action for unfair dismissal can be sought against an employer if a person's employment is terminated for their political opinion.

Lyons, also former Australian Council of Trade Unions assistant secretary, said it was "important to note that discrimination law works both ways".

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