Super fund ex-finance head claims he was sacked for alleging bullying

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“It will vigorously defend the matter,” he said.

Mr Hawes, whose pay package was a total of $240,000 a year, said when the CFO started in the role in September 2022 he had just been given a pay rise and a bonus and had worked with two previous CFOs without concerns over his performance.

However, in his statement of claim, he alleges the CFO adopted a very different management style from anyone else he had encountered and required weekly meetings with him where she closely scrutinised his work.

Mr Hawes, 57, said he felt unduly criticised, “second guessed” and “micromanaged”, complaints he says he made to CEO Jason Murray when he felt the weekly meetings had deteriorated to the extent they had become unworkable.

He alleges he complained to human resources on several occasions that he felt he was being “bullied” and “managed out of the business”.

He says the CFO also requested he work while on leave and on Anzac Day at short notice.

By May 19, he was placed on a performance improvement plan and a month later, he was fired due to performance issues.

Under the merger, which is expected to be finalised in late 2024, neither his nor the CFO’s role would be automatically guaranteed in the new structure, he said.

As a result, “the timing of his performance management and ultimate termination, with the impending restructure, must be seen as more than a coincidence, and was, in addition, another real motivating factor in his termination”, his statement of claim says.

The move denied him his bonus, he said, and “the opportunity to apply for new roles following the merger of the Spirit Super with Care Super and/or be considered for redundancy”.

He is seeking six months of pay as compensation, or $120,000, his $10,356 short-term bonus plus interest and any civil penalties ordered against the fund.

The case is scheduled for a directions hearing on October 11.

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