Amber Harrison refuses to go quietly – as Seven West Media would’ve desperately hoped – and last friday she again carried out her threat to sue her former employer, claiming its treatment of her had contravened the Fair Work Act and breached her employment contract.
Harrison, too, is fighting SWM’s QCs with her very own, enlisting high-profile barrister Julian Burnside, QC, to represent her in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
Harrison, who famously had an extra-marital affair with SWM CEO Tim Worner between 2012 and 2014, claimed in court that the affair had led to her having anxiety, shame and panic attacks.
The source of her mental state wasn’t so much the affair but the investigation into her alleged misuse of company credit cards.
On Friday, Burnside argued SWM contravened the Fair Work Act because it altered her role with the company “to her prejudice” and “injured her in her employment” after the affair with Worner ended, Fairfax Media has reported.
Yet, in a blow to Harrison’s case, her complaint to the the Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination and sexual harassment were dismissed on Friday as “lacking in substance” and being “misconceived”.
It has also been alleged that Harrison was cajoled into resigning her position from SWM when the affair became public knowledge among senior execs of the company.
Harrison, who has been rumoured to be seeking as much as $2 million in compensation, claims SWM failed to keep and maintain a safe system of work. Both the parties will return to the Supreme Court on April 6 to argue about whether that claim should proceed.
SWM currently has a temporary gag order over Harrison that it won in the NSW Supreme Court last month. The gag order prevents Harrison from speaking to media or from using her Twitter account to release sensitive documents she took from SWM when she was employed there. SWM wants the gag order to be made permanent and that case returns to court in mid July.
As previously reported on B&T, Harrison was paid around $250,000 in a termination payout by SWM, however, was promised closer to $400,000. The payments stopped when Harrison refused to hand back the sensitive documents in her possession. Harrison has reportedly spent $110,000 on lawyers fees and owes a further $330,000.
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