The Seven Network has responded to a story on ABC’s 7.30 last night that it unfairly terminated a female reporter’s employment after she complained of sexual harassment.
Former Channel Seven Adelaide reporter, Amy Taeuber, taped her sacking on her phone and the audio was played on a report on the ABC current affairs program last night.
Seven has subsequently denied the allegations made and countered claims made by 7.30 that it refused to offer its side of the story.
In a statement to B&T, a Seven spokesman claimed the story was “neither accurate nor balanced” and that “the allegations aired were not put to Seven West Media for reply”.
It comes at a very sensitive time for Seven following eight months of intense media exposure following the revelations company CEO, Tim Worner, had an extramarital affair with PA, Amber Harrison.
Seven’s statement read in full:
Amy Taeuber and Seven entered into confidential settlement deed earlier this year. Because it is confidential, we cannot disclose its terms. It was comprehensive in terms of all allegations and claims.
We continue to request that due care be taken regarding any third hand versions you receive from Amy’s friends and family about Seven and its staff.
On the processes involved:
- Amy was not sacked because she made a complaint about anyone.
- Her complaint was fully investigated and resolved. A public apology was issued by the person and he now works another newsroom. Seven has policies in place on appropriate workplace behaviour.
- Amy was not sacked during the telephone call which she recorded and which was broadcast on 7.30 last night as the ABC has suggested. She was suspended and given a chance to respond to the allegations. It is customary practice that employees under investigation be suspended.
- Following that telephone call, allegations about Amy’s conduct were fairly put to her in writing and she was asked to respond in writing and stood down during the interim to allow her time to do that.
- Amy immediately sought legal advice and was represented throughout by her lawyers.
- Amy responded to the allegations through her lawyers. Meetings were held and letters were written.
- Amy’s employment was eventually terminated two months later after taking into account the responses which were given.
There was an investigation into alleged breaches of Amy Taeuber’s employment contract.
Seven’s HR team did not try to build any case against her and their investigation was not related to any complaint made by Amy about other staff.
The program broadcast on 7.30 on Monday night on the ABC was neither accurate nor balanced. The allegations aired were not put to Seven for reply.
Had they been, Seven would have made clear that the termination of employment was made pursuant to a breach of contract, and the former employee was represented by two successive firms of lawyers and the union.
It is untrue to say that she was not represented. The matter proceeded to mediation, where she was again represented, culminating in a deed of release which contained a confidentiality provision.
We are surprised by the allegations six months after the signing of a mutual agreement and settlement. Her complaint was fully investigated and resolved. A public apology was issued by the person who has been transferred to another newsroom. Nothing of this issue was raised by her law firms at the time.
Had they been, Seven would have made clear that the termination of employment was made pursuant to a breach of contract. This did not occur during the recorded conversation broadcast by the ABC last night, but many weeks afterwards following meetings and discussions when the former employee was represented by two successive firms of lawyers and the union. It is untrue to say that she was not represented.
The matter proceeded to mediation, where she was again represented, culminating in a cash settlement and a confidential deed of release.
Seven has a long history of providing career opportunities and promotion of the more than 2,500 women who work for the organisation across Australia. We reject completely the claim we do not act fairly and supportively at all times with members of our staff. Being a supportive employer that promotes and demands a caring workplace befitting a creative company, Seven will not tolerate standards that fall short.