It's been an embarrassing week for Channel 7, with a secret audio recording of a meeting between one of its HR managers and then cadet journalist Amy Taeuber hitting the news. The meeting was the precursor to Ms Taeuber's dismissal, which came after she raised a sexual harassment complaint. If you haven't heard the recording, and you should, Channel 7's treatment of Ms Taeuber gives you a truly icky feeling.
In what is a terrible look for Channel 7, the HR manager sounds cold and callous towards Ms Taeuber, who is clearly distraught by what she claims to be baseless bullying allegations drummed up in response to her sexual harassment complaint.
But how badly did Channel 7 really screw up? Let's break down the meeting by answering your burning questions.
Was Cadet Taeuber allowed to secretly record the meeting?
With the exception of Queensland and Victoria, a person can't covertly record a conversation without the other parties' consent. That said, this breach by Ms Taeuber will do little to save Channel 7's reputation.
Was Cadet Taeuber entitled to a support person?
Ms Taeuber's support person got tossed from the meeting without proper reason. If she brought an unfair dismissal claim, Ms Taeuber would have won on this point alone.
Was Cadet Taeuber entitled to know her accuser?
In the meeting, Ms Taeuber demanded to know who made the bullying complaint. Although employees are not automatically entitled to know the name of their accuser, procedural fairness dictates that employees need to have enough information to properly respond to allegations. Often this means having the names of the people involved in the alleged conduct.
Could Channel 7 suspend Cadet Taeuber?
If Channel 7 had the right under Ms Taeuber's employment contract or its enterprise agreement, then it was free to suspend. Otherwise, Channel 7 would need compelling reasons why Ms Taeuber had to be out of the workplace while it conducted its investigation.
What about revoking Cadet Taeuber's ID pass, phone and IT access?
Although Channel 7 can ask for its property back, at that stage, it was early days into an investigation. By cutting off Ms Taeuber's access and escorting her off the premises like a petty criminal, Channel 7 made it clear that it had made up its mind and Ms Taeuber's fate was all but certain.
We do not disclaim anything about this article. We're quite proud of it really.