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 Post subject: who represents the women
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:19 am
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"I really don't know what your role is," she purportedly said to Leonie Vandeven, then in her ninth year in a public relations role with the Brisbane-based airline.
"I believe that you do not have the necessary skills and experience that the new management requires moving forward.
"I would be happy to help you get the experience required and develop you, if you want, (but) you need to decide whether you can live with the new regime."
Ms Vandeven's claim alleges she had advised the company just weeks earlier that she was pregnant with her second child and she then received junior tasks and limited working hours.
It further alleges she was excluded from her usual management meetings, removed from the website as a media contact and told she could not advance within the organisation at the present time.
Despite a performance review the following month by a previous boss which rated her as "highly effective", Ms Vandeven was made redundant on June 30 last year, the claims states.
Just two days earlier, Ms Vandeven's workmate in the PR department,gucci borse, Kirsty Aitken, was also made redundant, according to a separate claim she has filed.
Ms Aitken's claim alleges she spent seven years as a promotions and sponsorship specialist with Virgin Blue and had returned to full-time work after taking maternity leave in 2009.
It further claims that on only her second day on the job, Ms Keighery ordered her to go back on maternity leave for a month and told her that "you should think carefully about whether you could return to a full-time position with a baby".
Before the month was up, Ms Aitken had major sponsorship work removed from her responsibility and then lost her job on the grounds that her position was no longer required, according to her claim.
Yet two positions with the same job titles were then advertised and recruiting efforts undertaken, the claims allege.
The two women, both in their early-30s, allege Virgin Blue breached numerous sections of the Fair Work Act and its own internal guidelines with regard to the exercise of workplace rights. They are seeking substantial damages from the airline, which has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the claims.
Maurice Blackburn lawyer Terri Butler, who represents the women, said they had a right to exercise their parental leave entitlements and to rejoin the Virgin Blue workforce in roles commensurate with their expertise.
"To be discriminated against for being pregnant or on maternity leave reflects a very unhealthy work culture at Virgin Blue," Ms Butler said.
Ms Vandeven and Ms Aitken filed their claim in court this month following failed mediation talks in October and February.
Ms Aitken's claim alleges that in October 2009 Virgin Blue's general manager of people, Richard Tanner, said in front of her that "all females should be employed on contracts so that when they get pregnant it is easier for the company to get rid of them."
He allegedly pointed out Ms Aitken's pregnancy to co-workers and made comments about her eating habits in front of colleagues.
Mr Tanner is also alleged to have said to Ms Aitken that "you should think carefully about whether you could return to a full-time position with a baby", her claim states.
Ms Keighery, who has children herself, said Virgin Blue refuted the allegations raised by the former employees.
"Virgin Blue is an industry leader in supporting working mothers,&quot,doudoune moncler; she said.
Women comprised more than half the executive team and 28 per cent of employees have flexible work arrangements, Keighery said.
The airline also appointed its first female board member, Sydney businesswoman Sam Mostyn, in September last year.
But the current court battle is not the first time Virgin Blue has faced complaints about its employment practices,belstaff outlet.
Eight experienced flight attendants who applied to work as cabin crew won an Anti-Discrimination Tribunal ruling in 2005 that the airline had unfairly bypassed them because of their age.
The tribunal determined that the women, formerly employed by now-defunct Ansett and then aged between 36 and 56, had been victims of "unconscious" discrimination.
One of the victims described the group job interview as a "cattle yard" where a premium was put on being "young, blonde, gorgeous and with legs up to your armpits''. Virgin Blue ended up paying compensation and legal costs to the women.
The Tribunal's final ruling on the matter in March 2006 was highly critical of the company.
"Although the respondent (Virgin Blue) was not malicious either in conducting the recruitment process or in conducting the case, its actions have exacerbated the affront.
"It did nothing to address the concern that its recruitment process for a very significant period did not employ anyone over 36 years of age, although the selection process was professedly age neutral and there were substantial numbers of older applicants for employment after Ansett collapsed,'' the ruling says.
"To suggest as the airline now submits given the above that 'any general damages should be nominal . . .'and that the injury is 'not great' is to trivialise the respondent's significant contravention of the Act."
The first hearing in Ms Vandeven and Ms Aitken's cases has been set down for March 23. The women have both refused to comment.
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