Home Business Super fund ex-finance head claims he was sacked for alleging bullying

Super fund ex-finance head claims he was sacked for alleging bullying

by Paul Morgan

Title: Former Spirit Super Executive Alleges Unfair Termination and Bullying

A former executive at Spirit Super, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, has lodged a claim against the company, alleging unfair termination and workplace bullying. The executive, Mr Hawes, asserts that a change in management style by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) led to undue criticism, micromanagement, and ultimately, his dismissal. Let’s delve into the details of the case and explore the potential implications for both parties involved.

Mr Hawes, 57, had a distinguished tenure at Spirit Super, earning a substantial annual pay package of $240,000. He claims that he had successfully worked with two previous CFOs without any issues concerning his performance. However, upon the CFO’s appointment in September 2022, Mr Hawes noticed a drastic shift in management style.

The Allegations:
According to Mr Hawes’ statement of claim, the CFO adopted a more stringent and demanding approach, insisting on weekly meetings to closely scrutinize his work. Feeling unduly criticized and micromanaged, Mr Hawes brought his concerns to the attention of CEO Jason Murray. As the situation escalated and became unworkable, he reached out to the HR department, citing feelings of being “bullied” and “managed out of the business.”

Unfavorable Circumstances:
Mr Hawes further alleges that the timing of his performance management and subsequent termination coincided with an impending merger between Spirit Super and Care Super. Both his and the CFO’s roles were no longer guaranteed in the new structure, leading him to believe that the merger served as a motivating factor in his dismissal. Consequently, he claims to have been denied the opportunity to apply for new roles or be considered for redundancy as a result of his untimely termination.

Compensation Sought:
Seeking rightful compensation, Mr Hawes is demanding six months of pay as severance, amounting to $120,000. He is also seeking the recovery of his $10,356 short-term bonus, plus interest and any civil penalties deemed appropriate by the court. The case is set for a directions hearing on October 11, where further developments are expected to unfold.

Potential Ramifications:
This legal battle has the potential to shed light on workplace dynamics and management practices within Spirit Super, with repercussions extending beyond just the individuals involved in the dispute. The outcome of this case will likely set a precedence for addressing workplace bullying within the superannuation industry and will be closely watched by industry professionals, executives, and employees alike.

The legal claim lodged by Mr Hawes against Spirit Super highlights the impact of management style on employee morale and well-being. Allegations of workplace bullying and unfair termination should be treated with utmost seriousness and thoroughly investigated to maintain a healthy work environment. As this case proceeds, it serves as a reminder for organizations to prioritize fairness, respect, and open dialogue to prevent potential conflicts and to ensure the well-being of their employees.

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