Teachers at Brisbane religious school Citipointe Christian College are being asked to sign employment contracts that warn they could be sacked for being openly homosexual.
The school says the wording of staff employment conditions is “under review” but one former teacher, who refused to sign the document last month, says he has now effectively lost his job for taking a stand.
While religious bodies are allowed to discriminate in limited circumstances under 11월 말 앱 출시 이후 총 3900만 중 law, critics have questioned the legality of the contracts.
Citipointe’s principal, pastor Brian Mulheran, stood aside last month after the school abandoned attempts to institute “discriminatory” enrolment contracts for students.
The enrolment contracts asked families to sign a statement of faith that implied transgender students would only be recognised by their “biological sex”, and which described homosexual acts as “immoral” and “offensive to God”.
The student contracts were ultimately withdrawn by the school after significant criticism and backlash. The school then apologised to students who felt “they would be discriminated against” and said that the school needed “time to heal”.
“I hope that by withdrawing the contract we can return all our focus to the Christian education of our students,” Mulheran said at the time.
Guardian Australia has now obtained a copy of the school’s conditions of employment, which are part of each new teacher’s workplace contract.
The specific contract offer is dated in February – after the school’s apologies and withdrawal of the student enrolment contracts – and is signed by the new acting principal, Ruth Gravestein.
The document requires teachers to work within the same statement of faith of the International Network of Churches, the umbrella group that ultimately controls the Citipointe megachurch and school.
“It is a genuine occupational requirement of the college that the employee not act in a way he knows, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college,” the document says.
“Nothing in his/her deliberate conduct should be incompatible with the intrinsic character of their position, 특히, but not only, in relation to the expression of human sexuality through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage.
“Your failure to abide by such requirements expressed in the above clauses could constitute a breach of your employment contract and subsequent dismissal.”
The use of the term “genuine occupational requirement” in the employment conditions is an apparent attempt to mimic the wording of section 25 of the Queensland anti-discrimination act, which allows for religious bodies to discriminate in circumstances where a person “openly acts in a way that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs”.
Lawyers say that, regardless, the “sexuality” clause in the Citipointe contract is problematic.
“My legal opinion is that this contract is likely to be found unlawful under Queensland anti-discrimination laws,” said Matilda Alexander from the LGBTI legal service.
“It seeks to prohibit conduct that is not in connection with the workplace by stopping an employee acting in a way that is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college, whether or not this is done openly.
“It changes the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ mantra to ‘don’t do it’.
“This is far beyond the power of any employer in Queensland. We all have the right to attend work and pursue our own personal lives outside of work, even if working for a religious school.”
One former teacher, who refused to sign the contract, said Citipointe was an “encouraging and supportive learning environment, with good facilities and hard-working staff”.
“Not signing this contract was my choice, but I have effectively lost my job to discrimination,”그는 말했다.
“Excluding LGBTQIA+ people from the school community perpetuates these archaic values, and doesn’t prepare students for the real world. In the real world if you don’t share values with a colleague or friend you can’t contract them out of your life.
“I’m disgusted by this kind of intolerance and discrimination hiding behind the name of God, especially when formalised in a contract. This is not Christianity.”
The Queensland attorney general, Shannon Fentiman, said Queensland’s anti-discrimination laws were robust and urged anyone who believed they had been discriminated against in the workplace to make a complaint to the state Human Rights Commission.
“It is absolutely appalling to see these awful and damaging clauses in the employment contracts for Citipointe College teachers – especially after the recent outrage and controversy around their student enrolment forms.”
The Independent Education Union’s Queensland and Northern Territory branch, which represents teachers at Citipointe, said a “state of being” was not sufficient basis for an employer to apply a “genuine occupational requirement” exemption to anti-discrimination laws.
The union has called for section 25 of the act to be repealed “consistent with changing societal norms and expectations”.
“[The section of the act] is generally thought to have a disproportionate impact on lesbian, 게이, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) 노동자, but the effect of the exemption is much more broad reaching,” the union said in a statement.
“Our union has encountered examples where the exemption has a disproportionate effect on women, especially an unmarried pregnant woman, or a divorced person, or a person with a child to someone they are not married to.
“While these people are all lawful participants of society and are widely accepted as not infringing on community standards, section 25 of the act may be used to justify a decision to terminate that person’s employment.
“These exemptions are inherently unfair, out of step with modern community expectations and disproportionately affect the very sectors of society discrimination legislation is intended to protect.”
The school said in a brief statement the wording in employment contracts was “under review” and that “new wording is awaiting approval”.