The Seven Network has been slammed from all angles over its handling of a workplace investigation and sexual harassment claim involving former employee Amy Taeuber.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has written directly to Seven about its termination of Taeuber’s employment after she complained of sexual harassment, with new details of the incident emerging on the ABC’s 7:30 on Monday night.
The report revealed leaked audio taped by Taeuber of her sacking, in which you can hear Seven’s HR manager telling Taeuber she was suspended and under investigation, and denying her the chance to have a support person in the room.
Seven subsequently denied the allegations made and countered claims made by 7.30 that it refused to offer its side of the story.
The MEAA said in a statement that the case “highlights the timely need for senior media executives – who are predominantly men – to take direct responsibility for ensuring the toxic culture that allows sexual harassment to be perpetuated, that protects perpetrators and that fails to protect the most vulnerable employees, is stamped out for good”.
“MEAA believes in order to be afforded procedural fairness, you should be notified of the meeting 24 hours in advance, you should be notified about the nature and agenda of the meeting will be, and that you should be informed of your right to have a support person or a representative from your union present at that meeting.
“You should be afforded the opportunity to provide a considered response, particularly if the matter is disciplinary in nature.
MEAA media section director Katelin McInerney said: “When we released Mates over Merit in 2016, we called media organisations to put policies into practice. Clearly this incident at Seven shows we are a long way off seeing employers implementing these policies.
“It is time for media executives to put their money where their mouths are: take a direct leadership approach to stamp out harassment and to support women in then media when they do come forward.”
Seven has also been subject to a barrage of criticism over the handling of the Amy Taeuber case on Twitter.
— Matthew Abraham (@KevCorduroy) September 25, 2017
Why would any woman want to work for @Channel7? It’s a blokes club.
— Denise Allen (@denniallen) September 25, 2017
disgusting, workplace harassment belongs in history books; no respect/responsibility by CH7 supervisors, immediate & higher; I’m free of CH7
— john reiter (@johnreiter1) September 26, 2017
Even Seven board member Jeff Kennett has been feeling the heat on Twitter from the likes of Crikey’s Stephen Mayne and the ABC’s Leigh Sales, forcing the beyondblue founder to jump to the defence of the TV network.
Sadly not a factually correct story. 7 not approached for comment so no balance. why does the ABC fail so often to seek balance in stories
— Jeff Kennett (@jeff_kennett) September 26, 2017
A lie. We sought comment from 7 and any board member or mgmt figure has an open invite for a studio interview. https://t.co/0ovRo3Incj
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) September 26, 2017