Class action mounting against Nine for ‘sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination’

A class action lawsuit against Nine is becoming more and more likely, as Maurice Blackburn has put out a call to women in the commercial television industry who have been affected by sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination.

The law firm put out a public statement saying it is “currently assisting a number of women in the commercial television industry to pursue claims of sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination”, but didn’t specify a particular network.

“We believe that there may be many other women who have been affected, either by witnessing such conduct or by experiencing it. If you have information that could assist our clients, or if you wish to get advice about your own experience, please contact us.”

Joshua Bornstein, principal lawyer and head of employment law at Maurce Blackburn, told the AFR — a Nine-owned masthead — that the law firm was currently “acting for a number of women in commercial television across the networks with remarkably similar experiences and stories to tell”.

The paper also reports Maurice Blackburn is acting for the woman who filed a formal complaint against Nine’s disgraced former news boss, Darren Wick.

Bornstein suspects some women have signed NDAs that makes public redress difficult, calling this “ironic in an industry that prides itself on shining a light on stories in the public interest”.

Darren Wick

While a class action, which requires seven or more complainants, wasn’t mentioned, Bornstein said: “The more women that come forward, the stronger their position will be to get some form of redress. One of the things NDAs often do is mask the reality for other women experiencing similar behaviour.”

Wick has reportedly been the subject of complaints from “more than a dozen former and current TV journalists from the Nine Network”, which could certainly be cause for a class action.

3AW Mornings host Tom Elliott claimed on-air last week he knows of “four women who all allege some very bad behaviour by Darren Wick,” stating “I know the four women – and I think they are telling the truth” and the behaviour “ranges from belittling and berating female employees in front of their colleagues to sexual harassment”.

A Nine personality told Sky News that, during a Logies after party on the Gold Coast last year, Wick “was gropey, he had his hands everywhere, breathing heavily in my ear, I had to peel him off me”.

The unnamed on-air personality also said of Wick, who spent close to three decades at Nine: “It was commonplace for him to drink heavily at functions and he would often get in women’s personal space. We were revolted by him.”

It comes after Nine board and CEO Mike Sneesby insisted they are on the same page, following speculation that Sneesby is on the outer.

A statement sent to staff last week read that “the group leadership team is united with the board, and working closely, to ensure our workplace is one of respect, safety and inclusion”.


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