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Technology One sends 'warning to all businesses' after $5m sacking fine

Business

Technology One has warned its profits would be hit by a Federal Court decision over a bullying claim from a former employee and said it would appeal the decision.

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The Brisbane company was fined $5.2 million, significantly higher than the $1.6 million provision in its accounts for the case brought by a former executive Benham Roohizadegan.

Roohizadegan headed up the company’s Victorian operations until he was dismissed in 2016.

“We are extremely disappointed with the decision as it pertains to the termination of employment of the applicant,” Technology One chairman Adrian Di Marco said.

“The Technology One senior executive team no longer had confidence in the applicant, which was an untenable situation for which Technology One took appropriate action and terminated his employment.

“We were not made aware at the time that the applicant had mental health issues.

“There is a salient lesson here for all business, which is to not terminate an employee if there is any hint of a complaint from the employee.

“There is a reverse onus of proof for a company to prove that a complaint was not a factor in the decision to terminate.”

Roohizadegan had claimed he was sacked for, among other issues, exercising his workplace rights by making complaints in relation to his employment: in particular, complaints as to his having been bullied.

“It is important that contractual arrangements are written by companies in such a way so that they cannot be intepreted by a former employee in later years – in this case 10 years later – in a way that was never intended by the company,” Di Marco said.

“Technology One has always believed that it had acted lawfully.”

The company said the $1.6 million provision it had made for the case was believed to be more than sufficient to cover any possible liability.

“We are extremely surprised by this decision,” Di Marco said.

“Taking this judgment into account Technology One now expects to be at the lower end of guidance.”

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