Free speech at work: Folau, Banerji and beyond?

Presented by ANU College of Law

The ability of employees to speak freely, both in public and private sector contexts, is increasingly being challenged. In 2019, the High Court of Australia endorsed the validity of the Department of Immigration’s termination of a public servant for her anonymous tweets. Until a recent settlement, the Federal Circuit Court was hearing Israel Folau’s challenge to his dismissal by Rugby Australia over controversial social media posts. These cases give rise to complex and often unsettled legal questions, at the intersection of employment law, constitutional law and anti-discrimination law. As the distinction between at-work and off-duty continues to blur in modern workplaces, it is unlikely these challenges will fade.

Where should the lines be drawn? Is it possible to reconcile employees' speech rights with the interests of employers? These events will consider these issues from practical, theoretical, policy and comparative perspectives.

Join Josh Bornstein, Maurice Blackburn; Kate Eastman SC, New Chambers; Distinguished Professor Adrienne Stone, The University of Melbourne; and Professor Andrew Podger AO, The Australian National University, as they debate these topical issues. The panel will be moderated by Kieran Pender, International Bar Association and ANU College of Law.