14 January 2013

The Applicant

Because religious bigotry is legal.

I’ve been looking through your resume, Miss Collins - I must say,
You’re by far the finest applicant we’ve seen.
You’re experienced, accomplished and adept in every way,
And your background check came back especially clean.
I’m impressed by your credentials, and the knowledge that they bring,
I can say the same for all the skills you’ve mastered.
I’d employ you in an instant, but for one wee little thing:
You’re unmarried, and your son was born a bastard.

Australia's anti-discrimination laws exist so that you, I and everyone else can have a fair crack at getting a job for which we're qualified. They generally state that certain things cannot provide the basis for whether an employer offers you a job or not. Things like gender, beliefs, race, marital status or disability. For example, if you're a single, gay Lithuanian Muslim with an amputated arm and you apply for a job as an accountant, your potential employer is legally obliged to give you the same consideration for the job as they do for a divorced, straight, Scottish atheist with a third nipple. 

Except if the employer is a religious organisation. Then the government thinks it's special

Did you know that in Australia, religious organisations are legally allowed to refuse employment to unmarried parents, non-heterosexual people, people of a different religion or no religion, and people who have had extra-marital affairs? 

Exemptions to Equal Opportunity Employment for religious organisations exist in order to protect their so-called "freedom of religion". The rationale is that, because the religion under which some schools, hospitals and nursing homes operate are traditionally bigoted, homophobic, antiquated and unrealistic, that they should be able to reflect those attributes in their employment practices. 

It doesn't matter that those employment practices conflict with the Human Rights standards that Australia has adopted for employees in other parts of society. Religious organisations are special, and the Australian Government sees fit to write their special status into law. 

In a nutshell, that law says: 
Thou shalt not discriminate on the basis of religion, unless of course you ARE a religion, in which case, GO NUTS. 

Go read David Marr's rightfully cranky piece about this, from today's Sydney Morning Herald. 


  1. Anonymous3:36 pm

    Imagine the screams of horror if a company refused to employ people on the basis of their religious beliefs !!!!

  2. Anonymous4:46 pm

    I'm yet to hear of a "religious freedom" that isn't immoral, yet these people claim to be the bastions of morality.

    If anyone can think of one, just one "religious freedom" which is actually more moral, please, let me know.

  3. I've turned down every interview offer that's ever come to me from a religiously-affiliated organisation, partly for this reason.

    If they're allowed to be legally bigoted, then first of all I don't want to work for them, and second of all, if I relented and took the job, my acquiescence wouldn't last and I'd find myself out on my ear with no severance the first time I took someone to task for religious nutbaggery.

    By the laws of economics, if we all did this, they'd find their labour supply restricted and end up paying a lot more for candidates, or with their ability to handle new projects restricted. So do the thing. Turn them down.

  4. To be fair though....acting is another industry that is allowed to discriminate. If they need a skinhead part to be filled by a white bald Aryan type, they can refuse to consider a small black midget.

    Maybe its actually just a clause for those industries that work in fiction?