A former SBS journalist who experienced workplace harassment is taking legal action to get her job back.
Pallavi Jain claims she was sacked for not being able to work under the woman who allegedly bullied her.
She has subsequently filed a general protections claim in the Federal Court.
SBS journalist wants job back
SBS hired Jain in 2013 to work in the Hindi language team under executive producer Kumud Merani.
Jain made three complaints about Merani before the network sacked her in December 2019.
A 2016 external investigation into Merani’s conduct found the executive producer had engaged in workplace bullying and harassment against Jain.
It also found Merani breached SBS’s code of conduct.
Jain claims SBS refused to change her reporting line, which caused her to suffer anxiety so severe she thought she was going to die, according to medical records.
A subsequent investigation by the work safety authority Comcare linked Jain’s mental health issues directly to her working under Merani.
It also determined SBS was liable for medical costs.
Despite these findings, Jain claims SBS forced her to continue to work under Merani for years.
“The bullying was harrowing. But what happened afterwards was worse.
“All SBS needed to do was to change the reporting line, but they did not.”
Inherent requirement of the role
SBS ultimately sacked Jain after an unsuccessful rehabilitation program.
Management concluded she couldn’t work under Merani, which the broadcaster described as an inherent requirement of the role.
Jain is not seeking monetary compensation, instead she wants her job back.
“It’s about justice at the end of the day.
“Why should I have to give up my job because someone bullied me?”
SBS denies allegations
An SBS spokesman denied all allegations and said the broadcaster intends to vigorously defend them.
“We absolutely refute assertions that SBS has a culture of bullying.
“We take any issues raised with us seriously and respond to in line with our clear workplace behaviour policies and grievance procedures.
“Any suggestion that SBS doesn’t prioritise the health and wellbeing of all our employees equally is offensive and false.”
The Federal Court will hear the case from tomorrow.