M+C Partners allege drug use and ‘erratic attendance’ in ongoing legal battle with former executive Asher Moses

PR agency M+C Partners has lodged its defence against a former executive, Asher Moses, who last year launched court action claiming he was unfairly ousted from the business he built and, as a result, wrongly deprived of his equity in the business.

The agency has now filed its defence alleging Moses “was not attending work in accordance with his contractual terms” and was a regular cannabis user – claims which Moses denies.

Moses joined Media + Capital Partners in 2014, helping to build its boutique PR offering. He alleges in the court documents that he was abruptly terminated in June last year.

Moses lodged an unfair dismissal claim last year

Lodging a defence with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia earlier this week, M+C Partners’ parent company Abbey West Pty Ltd, has claimed Moses’ employment was terminated “due to his erratic attendance at work without reasonable or any excuse and undertaking his work in a state unfit to properly fulfil his duties”.

“Moses’ attendance continued to be erratic, increasingly lax and without reasonable excuse. Further it hindered Moses’ effectiveness in creating new business and supervising junior employees, requiring [CEO David] Greer and other senior employees to spend unscheduled time in Melbourne,” the defence documents allege.

In Moses’ statement of claim lodged last year, he alleges he was “frozen out from the business”, dismissed unlawfully and deprived of the equity he was entitled to under the company’s employee shareholder scheme.

However, according to M+C Partners, “it was aware that the Applicant [Moses] was a recreational drug user and believed that this was a contributing factor to his unacceptable and unprofessional behaviour and conduct”.

According to the latest filing in the court, CEO David Greer and director Justin Kelly had allegedly observed Moses’ “irregular attendance” in the office in early 2016 and Moses had “appeared dishevelled with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech” while at work.

In Moses’ original claim to the courts, he claimed he had complained to M+C Partners’ CEO Greer one month after the death of his father in May 2016, that he was being “frozen out from the business because he was dealing with mental wellbeing issues” and he was no longer “involved in decision making and high-level planning” as he was previously.

M+C Partners are claiming ignorance on Moses’ mental health issues

However, in its defence claim, M+C Partners denies “it was aware the Applicant [Moses] had been suffering or suffered from any mental illness or depressive disorder following the passing of his father”.

“At no time following his father’s passing but during his employment did Moses: inform Abbey West that he was, or may be, suffering any mental illness (including depression); inform Abbey West that his cannabis use was, or may be, linked to his grief and any mental illness,” the defence documents allege.

M+C Partners claims once Moses returned to work after taking time off for compassionate leave on June 9, 2016 following his father’s death, his alleged “irregular attendance, poor presentation at work and poor performance continued”.

The PR agency is claiming in its defence that CEO Greer and chairman Jonathan Younger held a meeting with Moses on or around June 23, 2016 to express its concerns in relation to Moses’ “declining performance in undertaking work”.

Moses allegedly failed to improve his work performance for the later part of 2016, the defence claim alleges.

In March 2017, Moses allegedly took more leave on the condition he “seek specialist health advice or attend rehabilitation in respect of his drug use”, the defence documents claim.

Moses returned to work on June 1, 2017 and on June 29, 2017 M+C Partners alleges Greer saw Moses at work with “bloodshot eyes” and “barely coherent” speech.

According to the agency’s defence, two days later Greer and Younger called Moses to explain senior team members had lost trust in Moses and “cannot tolerate [you] turning up to work in a state where you are incapable of doing your duties”.

The telephone call was when M+C Partners allegedly gave Moses four weeks notice and terminated his contract.

In a statement provided to Mumbrella, Moses said: “I utterly deny the unsubstantiated allegations and reject any attempts to damage my reputation. I stand by my claim completely.”

M+C Partners’ offerings include investor relations, crisis communications, corporate communications, investor relations, capital raising advisory services and media relations.

The advisory and public relations firm has around 30 employees and has worked with clients including Airbnb, Optus, GE, GoCatch, IAG.


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