Senior executives in the marketing department of Optus which has been described as a “boys club” have been accused of “bullying, suppression and victimisation” by a former marketing executive who had only been in the job for 7 months.
Now Kerry Morrison who has had numerous jobs prior to joining Optus wants the company to cough up $14.5 million in damages. She claims internal fighting between Optus’ marketing departments prevented her from doing her job.
Morrison worked at Optus from 2002 to 2003, and returned to the company in 2011 where she worked as the Head of Sales, Services and Marketing in Digital Media for 7 months. Prior to that she also worked for 19 months at Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
Optus said it would defend the ”unjustified claims”.
Last year former David Jones PR executive Kristy Fraser-Kirk tried to claim $37 Million from David Jones for sexual harassment. The case which never went to trial ended up with David Jones paying out less $900K.
Last week Harmers Workplace Lawyers filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court in NSW claiming SingTel Optus failed to protect their client from a “known bully”.
It was revealed that Optus terminated Morrison’s employment prior to the case being brought before the Federal Court.
Morrison also claims that Optus tried to prevent her from exercising her workplace rights.
Now Morrison is seeking millions claiming that her second spell at Optus had resulted in her reputation being damaged.
One head hunter in the IT and telecommunication channel told ChannelNews, “I had never heard of this woman prior to this case, now everyone knows who she is because of her action against Optus”.
Lawyers acting for Morrison have also sought orders “designed to ensure that the dysfunctional culture of bullying, suppression and victimisation at the Optus Group is reformed”.
Fairfax Media claim that Morrison alleges Optus failed to warn her about tensions between the company’s digital media division, headed by Austin Bryan, and the consumer division, including “strong tensions in the relationship between Bryan and [head of consumer] Michael Smith; the protection of under-performing internal and external parties; [and] the role of Michael Smith as a known bully highly protective of the revenue of the consumer division”.
Harmers allege Mr Smith would not support Ms Morrison’s initiatives to boost online sales “as it would lead to a decline of sales through retail”, which he managed.
Tensions peaked at a meeting between the two on January 11 when Mr Smith allegedly “started screaming at [Ms Morrison] and became physically aggressive and overbearing to the point where [Ms Morrison] became fearful and emotionally upset [and was] physically shaking”, court documents allege.
She claims she was sacked without notice by her supervisor, Mr Bryan, on February 7.