IEU Speaks: School employers have nothing to fear from modern community standards

The ALRC Report to the Federal Government lays out common-sense updates to the special discriminatory privileges afforded to faith-based school employers.

The Australian community rightly rejects discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, sexual orientation or pregnancy; however, thousands of employees working in faith-based schools have historically been denied these basic discrimination protections at work.   

IEU members have shared distressing stories of the humiliation and disadvantage they suffered under antiquated discrimination exemptions. IEU workforce research in 2021 found that 48% of Catholic school staff had either witnessed or been subjected to discrimination in their workplace. 

The Federal Government must not delay on their clear election commitment to update the laws in line with reasonable community standards, while at the same time ensuring the ability of religious schools to continue to build communities of faith central to their ethos and character.   

School employers have nothing to fear from modern community standards

In previous defence of their special right to discriminate, employers variously claimed they don’t use the exemptions and don’t discriminate, while at the same time arguing the exemptions were needed to protect the values of faith-based schools.

Such obvious contradictions are glaring, and at odds with the experience in other jurisdictions, such as the Northern Territory, where in 2022 exemptions were removed with no adverse impact on the operation, ethos or mission of faith schools.

No schools closed. No religious freedoms were harmed.

Read the full IEU Speaks below or on the website.