An ex-director at Seven West Media believes she was overlooked for a promotion because she was six months pregnant.
Lisa Squillace, director of program partnerships, is locked in a bitter dispute with Seven about when she can start her new job at Network Ten.
Seven have claimed that Ms Squillace’s start date at the rival network is in breach of a non-compete clause in her contract.
Ms Squillace has now claimed that she was overlooked for a promotion because she was pregnant and this snub caused her to seek employment elsewhere.
Lisa Squillace (pictured), former director of program partnerships at Seven West Media, is locked in a bitter dispute with Seven about when she can start her new job at Network Ten
Network director of sales Adam Elliott had resigned and Ms Squillance claims she was not invited to apply for the role.
A scathing letter to Seven by Ms Squillace’s lawyers at Laxon Lex says she sought out a workplace that ‘provided genuinely equal opportunity to women, including pregnant women’.
The Laxon Lex letter read: ‘Our client reasonably believed that she would be considered for, and quite possibly appointed to that role, having regard to her experience and long-term commitment to Seven.
‘However, our client was not even invited to apply for the Director of Sales role, with Ms Natalie Harvey being appointed to the role.
‘Our client’s view was and is that she was overlooked for the role solely because she was, at that time, approximately six months pregnant. Our client now wishes to make that view very clear to Seven.’
A Seven West Media spokesman told Daily Mail Australia that ‘Harvey was appointed to the role of Network Director of Sales because of her media agency background, history of running a full market sales team and proven transformation skills and success, which were skills deemed critical for this role’.
Ms Squillace is due to take up a new position at Network Ten, but is still locked in a legal battle with her old employer
It is thought that the legal battle could cost Ten upwards of $100,000, but this would be recouped in the case of a win.
Laxon Lex have said that Ms Squillace’s non-compete clause is invalid.
The Seven spokesman said that they initially offered Ms Squillace a ‘generous’ settlement’, reducing her non-compete period to two months, meaning she could start at Network Ten in February 2019.
However, Ms Squillace allegedly refused this offer, causing Seven to revert to her original contract and enforce a six month constraint.
‘Lisa Squillace was a well-liked and respected member of the Seven team for many years and we were sorry when she told us she was leaving to join Ten,’ the spokesman said.
He also stressed that Ms Squillace was informed of Ms Harvey’s appointment before it was announced.
‘The fact that Lisa did not raise any concerns she may have had about any potential unlawful discrimination then or at any time since March 2018 (until 8 October 2018) indicates that this claim has been manufactured for ulterior purposes, in particular to attempt to avoid contractual obligations,’ the spokesman said.
It is understood that the case has been adjourned until December.
‘Lisa Squillace was a well-liked and respected member of the Seven team for many years and we were sorry when she told us she was leaving to join Ten,’ a Seven West Media spokesman told Daily Mail Australia