Woman cleared of sacking ‘no’ voter
A CANBERRA business owner who sacked a contractor for supporting the "no" campaign in the lead-up to the same-sex marriage vote last year has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Madlin Sims, who runs party entertainment business Capital Kids Parties, announced the move in a Facebook post after the contractor, an 18-year-old Christian nanny identified only as Madeline, changed her profile picture to a frame saying "It's OK to vote No".
"Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech," she wrote in the post, which quickly went viral. "1. It's bad for business. 2. I don't like s**t morals. 3. I don't want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children."
While many people supported the move, Ms Sims said she copped a barrage of death threats and abusive messages calling her "skank, whore, b**ch, putrid, s**t". In a subsequent post, she stood by the decision.
"She was let go because her actions showed she is extremely out and proud about her views on homosexuals," she wrote. "I stand by my decision to let go of this contractor and her actions since being let go have justified for me that I made the right choice in doing so."
Ms Sims was subsequently referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to determine whether Madeline was correctly classified as a contractor - and so not protected from unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act - or should have been engaged as an employee.
In a letter to Ms Sims this week, the FWO told her that as there was insufficient evidence to make a determination, it would pursue no further action. It said there was some evidence suggesting an employment relationship, and other evidence indicating a contracting situation.
"The investigation ... has not identified any contravention of the Commonwealth workplace laws or the relevant industrial instrument," the letter said, according to the ABC.
"Discrimination occurs in the workplace when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because of a protected attribute. As the FWO has been unable to determine the nature of the engagement based on the evidence available, we will be taking no further action in relation to this matter at this time."
A FWO spokesman said, "The Fair Work Ombudsman has concluded an investigation relating to Capital Kids Parties and I can confirm that no contraventions of workplace laws have been identified."
Ms Sims told the ABC the decision was a "massive weight off her shoulders". "I would definitely do it again," she said.
"That business is like my little second baby, my pride and joy ... I was very scared of losing that. The biggest relief for me was when the 'Yes' vote was finally passed. Having this pop up after that happened, it's been a stressful few months."
Last year, Madeline said she was "hurt and offended" to be described as a risk to children and a racist. "I posted a filter and she said it was hate speech," she said. "Quite ironically she wrote her own hate speech about me.
"That was extremely hurtful, to hear her call me a homophobe and a racist, saying I was running around out in the open being horrible and discriminating against gay people when I've never done that at all."