TechnologyOne has lost its long-running court battle with a former employee, who accused the software vendor of unfair dismissal and workplace bullying.
A Federal Court has ordered TechnolgyOne to pay $5.2 million to its former regional manager for Victoria, Behnam Roohizadegan, who originally filed a $14.8 million suit against the company.
Roohizadegan had alleged he was bullied, marginalised and undermined from early 2016 by at least two senior executives, having at that time been with the company for 10 years.
He claimed he was summarily dismissed on 18 May 2016, at which point he had not been paid incentives due to him since 26 November 2009 as a percentage of the profit before tax performance of the Victoria office.
Roohizadegan was said to have been an “outstanding performer” during his tenure in Victoria, but was suffering from issues in his personal life unbeknown to his colleagues.
This led to him suffering extreme stress and anxiety, which was allegedly coupled by specific bullying incidents.
Seeking recompense under the Fair Work Act, Roohizadegan took his former employers to court in January 2018.
TechnologyOne denied the allegations at the time, and now, in a statement to shareholders following the judgement, said it was “disappointed” and “surprised” in the decision made by Justice Duncan Kerr, and only had $1.6 million in its accounts in the event of liability.
The company also said it planned to appeal “as soon as practicable”, adding that it has “always acted with integrity” towards its staff.
“It is important that contractual arrangements are written by companies, in such a way, so that they cannot be interpreted by a former employee in later years, in our case 10 years later, in a way that was never intended by the company,” chairman Adrian Di Marco said.
He added that the company felt it had always acted lawfully.
Roohizadegan was contacted for comment by ARN.