Channel 7 walked cadet out of building after harassment complaint
AUDIO of a Channel Seven cadet sacked after being accused of bullying has been released, raising questions about the media company's treatment of female staff.
A phone recording by 27-year-old cadet Amy Taeuber has been broadcast on the ABC's 7:30 Report, which shows the young worker was immediately asked to leave the building by Human Resources (HR) after being presented with allegations she had bullied a fellow staff member.
It came after Ms Taeuber herself made a complaint of harassment about an older male staff member and has led to questions about HR processes at the media giant.
In the audio - made by Ms Taeuber to protect her legal rights - a HR representative can be heard telling Chief of Staff Lesley Johns to leave the call despite her protest that was "disappointing". A male news director remains present while Ms Taeuber is presented with a letter detailing bullying allegations and told she will have her phone and ID pass stripped from her immediately.
"We find that instead of wiping phones from Seven's IT access it's just easier for us just to relieve people from their phones," the HR manager tells the cadet.
"Is this actually for real?" she asks.
"Absolutely" the HR manager says in reply before Ms Taeuber reads the allegations against her and asks for details over who made them.
"I would like to know who has made these allegations ... they're completely absurd. Oh my goodness is this real?"
"I've worked so hard to get this job and I know people are just trying to get rid of me now and it's just really upsetting," Ms Taeuber said, according to 7:30.
"I don't really deserve any of this for standing up and having a problem with someone calling me a lesbian."
She is offered the chance to "pick up her handbag and go" but said she would not like to return to her desk because "it's quite humiliating."
"This is disgusting. I've done nothing wrong I've not done any of this and I'm requesting to have the statement of the person who made these allegations," she said.
"I am being bullied in this workplace and you guys are doing nothing and you guys are in on this bullying now because this is just absurd," she said.
The audio provides an insight into goings on at the network after Amy Taeuber and her sister Sophie were both sacked last year. At the time, it was reported Amy had lodged a complaint in March 2016 after an older, male colleague made sexual comments about her within earshot of others including Sophie.
Ten days later, Amy was rebuked for blogging about My Kitchen Rules on a website run by another sister, Kate. The website was taken down, however she was then accused of bullying in the second incident which the audio reveals.
Amy Taeuber complained to the Fair Work Commission and was supported by other members of the media for making the complaint.
"The feeling among staff is Amy has been victimised for making a complaint," a former Seven staffer told The Guardian at the time. Journalist Tracey Spicer tweeted a "shout out" to the two "courageous" women.
Their mother Linda Taeuber told 7:30 the family was "distraught" by what happened and it was "horrific" to have taken away what her daughter had worked for in the blink of an eye.
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance spokesman Katelin McInerny told the ABC staff should always be aware of allegations against them and be given the chance to contact their union.
In a further twist, Kate Taeuber said the fellow cadet who reportedly signed the letter accusing Amy of bullying said he never signed it.
"He went straight to his news director and human resources and said, 'You know this is ridiculous. I don't understand why my name is being involved. I've never made any complaints about Amy, she's my friend. I want my name taken off it'," Kate Taeuber said.
The Seven Network said "there was an investigation into alleged breaches of Amy Taeuber's employment contract".
"She was dismissed because of what she said during the investigation which conflicted with the facts.
"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.
It's not the first time Channel 7 has been in high-profile disputes with female staff. In January Talitha Cummins sued the company after she was told she could not return to her job after maternity leave.
In July a judge ordered Amber Harrison pay legal costs for Seven after she leaked documents following a two-year affair with Seven boss Tim Worner.