A former KIIS FM radio presenter has accused the radio station and its parent company, ARN, of bullying and discrimination for being gay.
Former Celeb HQ host John Caldwell has lodged a General Protections claim involving dismissal after he was sacked following an incident that took place at the 2018 Australian Commercial Radio Awards.
Caldwell alleges that he was not told any details of the complaint against him, and was at no stage interviewed or asked for his side of the story.
According to a statement released by a representative for Caldwell, the incident involved an aggressive verbal homophobic attack by other employees, which included words to the effect of “you’re a homo”, “poofter”, “fucking faggot” and “I’m not a fucking faggot”.
“Later the same evening, the aggressive verbal attack was continued by the fellow employee. Prior to his sacking, and shortly after the ACRAs, Mr Caldwell made a complaint about the homophobic verbal attack he had been subjected to.”
Caldwell also alleges he has suffered from years of bullying at ARN, which has made him feel suicidal.
He said he made numerous complaints to ARN, but nothing meaningful was done.
“A senior executive regularly used words to him to the effect of ‘we just don’t upset the KJ [Kyle & Jackie] machine. If you’ve got a problem, we can find a workaround, but we never upset the KJ machine’.”
ARN says it will vigorously defend any claims
A spokesperson for ARN told Mumbrella:
“ARN are not aware of any proceedings commenced against KIIS FM or ARN by John Caldwell, and will rigorously defend any claims if they commence.
“John Caldwell’s contract was ended in October. Due to privacy reasons we don’t comment on individual contracts however John was given the reasons for his contract ending.
“ARN prides itself on its passionate work in the area of diversity and inclusion, particularly with LGBTQI initiatives and the broader community.”
It is unlawful to sack someone for making a complaint
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Discrimination Claims, said it is unlawful to sack an employee who makes a complaint.
“You cannot be sacked for making a complaint about your working conditions, or for making a complaint about sexual harassment or discrimination,” he said.
“That is not an unfair dismissal, that is an unlawful dismissal, and that is what Mr Caldwell is alleging has happened to him in this case.
“In addition, he his claiming he was sacked over an incident at the radio awards which he was not told about.
“Before someone has their employment terminated over misconduct, they must be given procedural fairness, which includes being told about any allegations, and being given an opportunity to respond to those allegations.”
If you have experienced sexual harassment, or discrimination based on your sexuality, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call our team at Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
For the latest workplace news, please follow our page on Facebook.