Peter van Onselen, Tegan George claims: Office incident dismissed by lawyers

Lawyers for 10 News reporter Tegan George have hit back at radio comments by colleague Peter van Onselen about an alleged incident at the office.

Lawyers for 10 News reporter Tegan George have hit back at radio comments by colleague Peter van Onselen about an alleged office mishap at the center of a federal court case.

George, who has been on furlough from his job as a political reporter at the Network’s Parliament office since July last year, filed documents in federal court on Monday alleging Network Ten violated the Fair Work Act.

According to her statement, seen by The Guardian, George claims van Onselen undermined and humiliated her while the couple worked together in Canberra.

Van Onselen appeared on ABC Mornings on Wednesday but, pressured on the matter by host Virginia Trioli, said he couldn’t give details for legal reasons and was eagerly waiting for the network to defend him.

But he spoke of an office incident in May last year which allegedly involved a conversation between a Network 10 employee and a freelance cameraman during which a sexist remark was made about another employee. .

Van Onselen said George witnessed the alleged incident but did not file a formal complaint.

“On (George’s) statement, which has been publicly disclosed, one of the complaints is that I did not condone, if you will, non-cooperation with an incident involving alleged sexual harassment within the office” , said van Onselen.

“So there was alleged testimony (from George) of sexual harassment within the office, according to the complaint, which I wanted to address and deal with, and part of the complaint, as I read in the papers, is that I was, if you will, demanding that (something) happen about it, which would suggest the exact opposite of the idea that I have a woman problem.

George’s attorney, Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein, released a statement Wednesday afternoon on behalf of his client.

“In June 2021, Ms George provided Network Ten with a detailed complaint about her treatment,” he said.

“Since then, the company has not investigated her allegations, citing repeatedly that she was not sure she wanted to proceed, that the allegations were not detailed enough, that she believed the complaints had been resolved to his satisfaction and that they were conducting a “culture review”.

“Unlike the complete failure of the investigation into Ms George’s detailed complaints, when Ms George overheard snippets of a conversation between two colleagues containing sexist remarks about a third colleague and reported it to a manager, she was threatened with disciplinary action if she refused to make a formal written statement about it.

“Ms George was concerned about why Network 10 was taking such an approach to this, while failing to tackle much bigger issues in the workplace.

“In any event, management had the information to fix the problem if they so wished. Any suggestion that Ms George refused or failed to report an incident of sexual harassment is false.

News.com.au has approached Network 10 for comment. A spokesperson said Tuesday the matter was an “employee matter” and would not comment.

It comes as a fundraiser for George’s legal fees was organized by friends and raised over $28,000 within hours.

The page was created by author Sally Rugg who wrote that the “significant price” associated with filing the lawsuit (against Network 10) in Federal Court “is a problem in itself”.

“Like most individuals, Tegan cannot afford to participate in legal proceedings on her own, so her friends and I persuaded her to let me call the public for help,” reads the collection. funds.

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