The ‘Folau Clause’ relates to the case of Mr Israel Folau, whose comments on his private social media account led to the termination of his contract with Rugby Australia. Under the ‘Folau Clause’, additional requirements will be imposed upon businesses with annual revenue of at least $50 million when it comes to standards of dress, appearance or behaviour that limit religious expression. The Bill states that such restrictions must be shown to be necessary to “avoid unjustifiable financial hardship on the business”. The process of calculating potential financial hardship will fall on financial professionals, particularly management accountants.
Professor Janek Ratnatunga says, “The application of the ‘Folau Clause’ means organisations will have to prove that their social media rules relating to religious expression, and subsequent actions taken, are in place to protect their brand. However, as the impact of individual social media activity on brand reputation is impossible to quantify, the draft bill instead defines the impact on the brand in financial terms, i.e. as causing “unjustifiable financial hardship on the business”.