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Employer puts the heat back on ‘discriminated’ workers

Heat Group is advising other Australian employers to fight spurious workplace claims, after a workplace discrimination case against the company was dismissed yesterday.

employee discriminationHeat Group, an Australian cosmetics company, was engaged in a four-year legal battle with former Heat group employee Joanne Finch. Finch’s claims of discrimination and harassment were dismissed yesterday, with the Judge stating that many of the allegations made were clearly false.

The ruling was welcomed by Heat Group CEO Gillian Franklin, who stated that the untrue and unfounded nature of Finch’s claims forced the company to take legal action.

“The Heat Group consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to Ms Finch and has vigorously contested her claims throughout the trial. We chose to fight these claims because we had a responsibility to prove our innocence and protect the reputation and integrity of our staff,” says Ms Franklin.

“These unfounded and untrue claims struck at the heart of our values and corporate reputation. The Heat Group is a recognised leader in workplace relations and a strong advocate of the rights of women. We are proud of our achievements over many years in creating opportunities for women and helping all employees balance their work and family lives,” added Ms Franklin.

Ms Franklin said she hoped the ruling would encourage other companies to stand up to employees making similar unproven allegations and resist the common practice of settling out of court.

“When faced with claims of this nature, taking into account the risks, the costs and the overall impact on the business, there is considerable pressure on companies to settle, even if they are innocent. Such an approach risks encouraging unmeritorious claims,” Ms Franklin states.