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Sisters Sacked By Channel Seven After Lodging Sexual Harassment Complaint

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Two sisters have been sacked from an Australian television station after lodging a sexual harassment complaint against a senior male colleague, who continues to work there.

Sisters Amy and Sophie Taeuber had worked for Channel Seven in Adelaide in South Australia for four years when one of them lodged a sexual harassment complaint against a senior colleague who had allegedly made statements of a sexual nature about Amy.

Weeks later both women were suspended, Amy was accused of misconduct, and last month both women were sacked.

Amy, who was one year into a two-year cadetship, is now seeking redress at the Fair Work Commission.

The 27-year-old has filed a general protections application for adverse action against Channel Seven.

When contacted by Guardian Australia, Taeuber declined to discuss the case. “The case is in the Fair Work Commission, so I am unable to comment further,” she said.

Sources say Taeuber had complained that on her birthday in March, a senior colleague victimised her by making comments of a sexual nature without her present.

The remarks were allegedly made in front of several staff on the program and reported to Taeuber by friends.

Taueber’s sister Sophie, a freelancer, was working on Today Tonight at the time and allegedly also heard the remarks.

Encouraged by senior staff, Amy lodged a formal complaint. But weeks later an internal investigation by human resources cleared the colleague.

Ten days later Seven turned the tables on Amy and accused her of bringing Seven into disrepute by blogging about My Kitchen Rules on her sister Kate’s reality TV website. Amy, Sophie and Kate are triplets.

Seven asked that the website be taken down, which the sisters complied with but then managements accessed her work emails and made different allegations of “online misconduct”. In early July the investigation into Amy concluded that she was guilty of “serious misconduct” and she was offered the chance to resign with a confidentiality agreement. But, sources say, Amy denied any misconduct and refused to resign.

A former Seven executive said Amy was a hard working and promising young journalist who had been chosen as a news cadet last year on the basis of her excellent work for several years at the network.

“The feeling amongst staff is Amy has been victimised for making a complaint,” another former Seven staffer said.

Amy was sacked a few days later and her sister Sophie was not given another shift.

Workplace lawyer John Laxon, who also represents Stephen Rice who was sacked by 60 Minutes, is acting for Amy in the upcoming dispute. He told Guardian Australia he couldn’t comment on the case ahead of a reconciliation hearing with Seven on 30 August.

A spokeswoman for Seven said the “proper process is being followed” and she couldn’t comment as it was a legal matter.


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