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Why CSG was ordered to pay its former employee $360K

Why CSG was ordered to pay its former employee $360K

Court decision follows employment termination in 2016

CSG (ASX:CSV) has until 6 November to pay former employee, Forrester Leahey, $360,000, after the Federal Court of Australia backed his unfair dismissal claims.

Former CSG Communications regional manager for NSW and the ACT, Forrester Leahey, who was employed by the CSG service business until last year, launched legal action against the publicly-listed IT and print services firm in late 2016.

As reported by ARN in September, Federal Court judge, Justice Michael Lee, handed down a ruling that sided with Leahey on several fronts.

In August 2016, Leahey’s employment with CSG was terminated, with the company citing an alleged sales target shortfall in FY16, “low” motivation for his role, and claims of “unacceptable conduct” following an alleged incident in Brisbane involving an altercation with a fellow CSG employee in mid-July 2016.

In his legal action against the print and IT services provider, Leahey rejected the bulk of CSG’s rationale for its termination of his employment, and instead alleged that the company showed him the door only after he “exercised” a number of his workplace rights.

Ultimately, Justice Lee’s judgment favoured Leahey in this matter.

“It was only after Mr Leahey had made numerous complaints about his remuneration that CSG embarked on a process by which it could make Mr Leahey’s position redundant and through which it had identified him as a poor performer and someone who only occasionally displayed CSG’s ‘values’,” Justice Lee said in his ruling.

“It will already be evident that I reject the submission of CSG that the genuineness of the reasons given for the termination cannot be doubted.

“This is because I have already concluded that CSG opportunistically fastened onto the Brisbane incident as a partial justification for dismissal,” he said.

Leahey sought over $90,000, plus interest, related to alleged forfeited income arising from CSG’s long term financial incentive (LSI) plan, damages for alleged breach of contract by “reason of an alleged failure” of the company to make payment of a short-term financial incentive (STI) for the year ended 30 June 2015 and for the year ended 30 June 2016.

At the time of the ruling, Justice Lee suggesting that CSG had, indeed, breached the employment agreement by its “failure to comply with its obligation to finalise targets and provide the necessary KPIs” in order to allow Leahey to obtain the benefit of his STI in FY2016.

As such, Justice Lee ruled that Leahey was entitled to in a sum of money that had yet to be calculated but the parties involved in the case. Lee noted, however, that the underlying legal question was what, if any, damages are payable by CSG for its alleged breach of contract.

According to court orders published on 9 October, the dollar amount Leahey is owed by CSG over the legal claims comes to $360,000, without interest, as long as the sum is paid by CSG by the close of business on 6 November.


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