Ex-COO Sues UNE

Ex-COO Sues UNE

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By Bridgette Glover David Cushway, former chief operating office at UNE appeared before the federal court in Sydney on July 16 in an effort to sue the University for up to $1 million for the loss of his job. Cushway also claimed that he was ostracised after being dismissed back in April during a restructure in the senior management. He had been appointed to the role in February 2013. Cushway’s lawyers filed a Federal Court action on July 4 which claimed that he was unfairly dismissed, contrary to “a general protection” of the Fair Work Act 2009.

In Cushway’s statement of claim, he alleged he was bullied by UNE’s chief financial officer Michelle Clarke, and was frozen out of the workplace. He also claimed that chief legal officer Brendan Peet obstructed him from carrying out his duties.

“In or around February, [acting vice-chancellor Annabelle Duncan], Ms Clarke and Mr Peet began to engage in conduct that amounted to bullying, harassment and victimisation,” Cushway claims.

UNE deputy vice-chancellor Faith Trent stated that UNE would defend the claim, regarding it as “unfounded”.

Cushway wants to be either reinstated in his position or compensated the bullying he experienced, the loss of income ($297,000 a year, and $17,500 annual car allowance), and being hindered from obtaining employment.

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