National broadcaster the ABC is facing legal action from former managing director Michelle Guthrie.The ABC is facing legal action from former managing director Michelle Guthrie after she was sacked from the top job last month.
Ms Guthrie began legal proceedings over her dismissal by filing papers with the Fair Work Commission ombudsman on Monday.
She has lodged a general protections application and is being represented by Kate Eastman SC and Johnson Winter & Slattery lawyer Ruveni Kelleher, a spokesman confirmed on Thursday.
The action comes despite Ms Guthrie’s contract with the ABC stating she could be sacked without cause.
The former media lawyer and Google and Foxtel executive was shown the door on September 24, with the ABC board saying her ongoing leadership was not in the broadcaster’s best interests.
At the time, Ms Guthrie – who has halfway through her five year contract – said she was considering her legal options.
“I am devastated by the board’s decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part,” she said in a statement.
“While my contract permits the board to terminate my appointment without cause and with immediate effect, I believe there is no justification for the board to trigger that termination clause.”
The ABC also confirmed Ms Guthrie’s Fair Work Commission proceedings on Thursday.
“Details of the complaint are not a matter of public record,” a spokeswoman for the broadcaster said.
Former ABC chair Justin Milne was forced to quit three days after Ms Guthrie was fired.
That came after it was revealed Ms Guthrie had told the ABC board Mr Milne requested she sack two journalists because the federal government didn’t like their reporting.
Mr Milne later confirmed to a communications department inquiry he had spoken with Ms Guthrie via email about the termination of chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici over the accuracy of two of her stories.
He also spoke with Ms Guthrie by phone about what to do with ABC political editor Andrew Probyn, again regarding story accuracy.
But the former chairman said his comments were not directives.
Ms Guthrie saw things differently, telling the inquiry the email about Ms Alberici was a directive and the call about Mr Probyn involved “significant pressure” to fire him.