TechnologyOne, a software vendor from Brisbane has been commanded to pay their former state managers $ 5.2 million in damages.
The Federal Court of Australia had agreed with Behnam Roohizadegan, the former TechOne Victoria state manager, establishing the compensation based on the Fair Work Act of 2009.
In 2018, Roohizadegan had sued TechnologyOne, alleging that he had been bullied in 2016 by two senior executives. One such moment was when he had supposedly been verbally abused by Stuart MacDonald, the sales and marketing executive, when in talks regarding a deal with one of their customers, La Trobe University. At the time, he was seeking payment of $14.82 million.
TechOne said that they were “extremely disappointed” by the judges’ decision and had continued to fire Roohizadegan.
“The TechnologyOne senior executive team no longer had confidence in [Roohizadegan], which was an untenable situation; for which TechnologyOne took appropriate action, and terminated his employment,” the announcement read. “We were not aware at that time that [Roohizadegan] had mental health issues.” They also continue to say that they have “always believed” that the company had performed according to the law.
TechOne chairman Adrian Di Marco, talked about the decision made, saying, “There is a salient lesson here for all businesses, which is to not terminate an employee if there is any hint of a complaint from that 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”.
TechnologyOne said the company was “extremely surprised with the decision and now intends to pursue the matter on appeal in the Full Federal Court as soon as practicable.”