A Federal Court in Melbourne has ordered the Seven Network to mediate with former employee Amber Harrison, despite the network’s disinterest in pursuing dialogue.
Harrison initiated a Fair Work claim against the network, following an affair with CEO Tim Worner and salacious headlines after she went public with detailed allegations.
Andrew Bell SC, told the court Seven had already been in mediation with Ms Harrison twice and more than $400,000 was paid out to her, but Julian Burnside QC, for Harrison, said mediation “should be given a chance”.
Justice Mordecai Bromberg ordered “mediations can often resolve proceedings, despite the resistance of one of the parties”.
The ruling is separate to an earlier case in the NSW Supreme Court, where Seven is pushing for a permanent gag order to stop Harrison speaking publicly about the company and her relationship with Worner.
A spokesman for Seven said in a statement: “We note the case management decision following our application today to defer the Fair Work claims until after the final Supreme Court decision is sensible given His Honour Justice Sackar determined that these claims could not proceed unless Ms Harrison was entirely successful in the NSW proceedings.
“We will continue the actions in the NSW Supreme Court to a final outcome before taking any further step in these proceedings. We also note the orders made by His Honour to engage in mediation with Ms Harrison which as the Judge indicated are routinely made in Fair Work Act matters.”
If a resolution cannot be made at mediation, Justice Bromberg ordered the Fair Work case be adjourned until after the NSW proceedings.