In another historical decision of a Supreme Court in the United States, an employed court clerk has been sent to jail for refusing to do her job.  Kim Davis, an employee of the same Court that jailed her, refused to issue marriage licenses to couples under the new same sex marriage equality laws in the USA. Ms Davis refused to do so on the basis of her religious beliefs. Her religion does not support same sex unions. 

Religion vs Law 

The theoretical question that arises from this case is whether a person's religious beliefs have anything to do with a person's responsibility to obey the law and/or do the job that they have been hired to do.

Many believe that religion and law are inextricably linked and that the morality of God should be superior where the law has failed.  For example, in Iran religion and law are one and the same. 

In terms of employment, there may be some instances where religion will provide an 'excuse' from a particular task or expectation of a job. For example, extra break times for people that obey religions with specific and strict prayer times.  

On the flip side of this argument, there needs to be civil standards that apply to all, despite an individual's personal beliefs. In a multicultural place such as Australia, these issues are forefront. 

In Australia, religion is a personal choice and is not the basis of our legal or political system. While in some circumstances, religion may allow the usual work rules to be bent and an individual's beliefs to be accommodated to a certain extent by their employer, it's probably too far of a stretch to refuse to do the job that you were employed to do, on the basis of your own religious beliefs.

This article contains information of a general nature only and is not specific to your circumstances. This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without independent legal or financial advice, specific to your circumstances.