Ten to defend court case seeking almost $400,000 in extra redundancy pay

Ten’s former executive producer of entertainment is suing the ViacomCBS-owned TV network for almost $400,000 in additional redundancy payments.

Maria Michael spent more than three decades with Ten as executive producer on shows such as The Living Room, until her role – along with that of fellow longtime employee and head of comedy Paul Leadon – was made redundant in May.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Michael’s lawyers allege Ten breached the Fair Work Act by only paying her 12 weeks’ redundancy pay when she was owed 90 weeks’ pay due to her length of service.

Michael was an executive producer on a number of shows, including The Living Room

This 78-week gap amounts to $393,371.10, according to the statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court on 31 August.

The general protections claim also alleges Ten took adverse action against Michael – reducing her payout by five weeks’ wages, or $25,216.10 – when she exercised a workplace right to question the amount of the redundancy package.

Mumbrella understands Ten will defend the case, which it believes has no merit.

“As the claim is to be decided by the court, we have no comment to make,” a spokesperson said.

Michael was one of multiple exits at Ten in May. In addition to her and Leadon, head of sport Matt White – who was announced as part of the 1170 SEN team over the weekend – also exited the business.

A number of cuts were also made at Studio 10 and across the behind the scenes news staff, resulting in Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Tim Bailey leaving the network, and Ten also shuttered its news and lifestyle website 10 Daily, resulting in more than 30 redundancies.

The network’s boss, Beverley McGarvey – whose remit was expanded after former CEO Paul Anderson stepped down in March – maintained that the decision was not a response to COVID-19, however.

“The recent impact of COVID-19 on the media industry has reinforced the need to continue to align our business with our evolving customer needs and global business model, but I want to stress that the changes are part of our broader strategy, not a reaction to recent events,” McGarvey said in an email to staff seen by Mumbrella.


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