Flight Centre hits back at bullying claims

Flight Centre hits back at bullying claims
By admin

Flight Centre has rejected accusations it ignored bullying towards a female employee, and that it victimised the employee that complained about the behaviour.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said Richard Barnes, former assistant manager of the Student Flights Frankston store, had become concerned by “aggressive and bullying behaviour” by store manager Kelly Gallasch towards another employee. The law firm claimed Gallasch had attempted to make the employee wear a “boob apron” to a work awards night because of low sales.

It yesterday filed an action against the retailer under the Fair Work Act’s adverse action provisions which protects whistleblowers from victimisation.

“In this case, our client blew the whistle on extreme bullying behaviour at Flight Centre and as a result, was vicitimised, demoted and ultimately lost his career with the company,” employment law principal Josh Bornstein said.

“The fact that a company which has won awards for being an excellent employer has tried to sweep this under the rug, ignoring obscene and belittling bullying in its own ranks and then turning on those that try to expose it, reflects an unacceptable work attitude.”

However, Flight Centre denied dismissing Barnes, although it claimed the company had investigated and acted on complaints made against Barnes “in relation to anger management”.

“Mr Barnes was offered several positions within FLT but chose to resign – he did not lose his job,” a spokesperson said.

“The company considers it acted appropriately and denies various allegations that have been made against it. It will vigorously defend the case.”
The firm insisted it had procedures in place to prevent such behaviour along with a “whistleblower’s facility” for staff to report alleged wrongdoing.

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