Israel Folau has reportedly contacted one of the country’s leading workplace relations lawyers as he considers taking legal action against Rugby Australia.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Folau has been in contact with Stuart Wood QC about his next move in the ongoing battle with his former employers.
Wood is said to be highly-experienced in unlawful termination cases where free speech is the central issue.
The Herald says Folau hasn’t decided on legal action quite yet, but is leaning towards taking RA to court with Wood as his lawyer.
If the matter goes to the Supreme Court, it is believed Folau will sue on contractual grounds.
However he also has the option of contesting his termination at the Fair Work Commission on religious grounds.
If he decides on the second option, he’ll have until June 10 to lodge his complaint.
‘Considering all avenues’
Folau issued a strongly-worded statement on Monday in which he hinted at legal action.
“My decision not to commence Rugby Australia’s appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel’s findings,” said Folau in a statement addressing his decision not to appeal the termination of his contract.
“I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia’s ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process.
“I believe I still have a lot of rugby left in me and the potential impact of Rugby Australia’s decision on my reputation and my career is substantial.
“Ultimately, I need to do what is best for my family, my teammates and the fans, so I am considering all potential avenues open to me.”
Last Friday a three-person panel found Folau's contract should be terminated after his Instagram posts, including one proclaiming hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".
That came after Folau had been warned against making such posts before signing his new contract last year. He'd previously posted that hell awaited homosexuals unless they repented.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said at the time the decision would have ramifications across the sporting world.
"This is a decision that will change the landscape for sport across Australia and perhaps internationally," she said.
"It will be landmark, it will be important, and it is a big decision.
"He is a very important player in our game and he has been for a long period of time and we wanted to make sure we took the time to get it right."