The facts: Can I Be A Christian At Work?

HRLA has prepared a series of facts sheets to help you become informed about your religious freedom rights. This is the second in the series and discusses faith in the workplace.

Here’s what you need to know.

Social Context – Christianity in the Workplace

The workplace is an increasingly hostile environment for Christians in Australia. The ability of people to be freely and openly faithful at work is under threat. People should be able to share their faith with their colleagues, and should not be pressured to compromise by being asked to do things that violate their conscience. But increasingly, Christians are facing complaints and are being summoned by employers or HR departments, facing pressure to compromise or explain their behaviour.

What does the law say?

Employees have both rights and obligations in relation to their employers under the law. Fair Work legislation gives employers a right to impose conditions on their employees in several ways. As an employee, you are obliged to comply with the terms of your employment contract. Your employer can also impose a Code of Conduct and other workplace policies. And you must comply with your employer’s lawful and reasonable directions relating to your work.

However, employees are protected by the Fair Work Act from unlawful directions and adverse action. In general, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on their religious or political convictions, and in certain cases must make reasonable accommodations for their employees. Your rights as an employee to be treated fairly can be exercised if you are discriminated against based on your religion.

General Guidance

Christians do not leave their faith at home when they go to work and should be free to talk about their beliefs in the same ways they would talk about sport, politics, and other such topics. A general rule might be that if the context allows you to talk about football or television you should be free to talk about your faith. Christians should be wise about how and when they discuss their faith, particularly when it relates to controversial topics.

Employers are free to adopt positions on social issues, but employees should also be free to politely state their conscientious objection to participating in activities that violate their faith. Unfortunately this may not always be the case and Christians may find themselves called to meet with HR or management.

There are some key tips you should always keep in mind if you are called into a meeting with your employer.


  • Informed. Know your employment contract, Code of Conduct, and workplace policies.
  • Prepared. Ask for an agenda. What will the meeting be about? Who will be present?
  • Support. Ask to bring a support person into the meeting. This could be a trusted colleague or someone outside the workplace, such as a spouse, friend, or pastor.
  • Outcomes. Have an understanding of the potential outcomes.
  • Boundaries. Consider carefully where your boundaries are. Know what you are willing to compromise on, and where you will draw the line.
  • Records. Take careful notes of what is said, particularly around decisions or agreements reached. If possible, your support person should do this.
  • Reflection. Do not sign anything in the meeting. Ask for time to read and consider any documents carefully.
  • Never electronically record a meeting without express permission to do so.

Case studies

Alex Strahan

Alex Strahan, an experienced pilot for an Australian airline, was asked to fly a plane displaying pride livery. This conflicted with his conscience as a Christian and he requested not to be assigned to that aircraft.

Alex was stood down from duty and contacted HRLA for advice. HRLA helped Alex understand his legal rights and provided materials and guidance as het met with his employer to raise his concerns. Thanks to HRLA’s support, Alex has been restored to duty.


Andy is a Sydney businessman who owns a printing shop franchise. During the 2023 World Pride event, Andy’s shop was approached with a request to print pro- LGBT posters. Andy politely declined the job because of his Christian conscience and offered to help the customer find an alternative business to print the posters.

In response to the public backlash that followed, the franchise company requested a meeting with Andy, raising concerns over his future with the franchise. HRLA supported Andy as he met with the company. Thanks to HRLA’s assistance, Andy was able to come to an agreement with the company, and the issue was resolved without further repercussions.


Note: This fact sheet does not constitute legal advice. If you are unsure about your legal rights at work, contact HRLA. We have experience helping everyday Australians as they face hostility for their Christian views. The sooner you get legal assistance, the easier it is to resolve a problem. Visit for more information.