Virgin Australia hits back as mothers sue airline over redundancy

Author: Harrison HR | Blog

VIRGIN Australia has produced multiple emails as evidence against two mothers suing the airline for turfing them out of their jobs.

Former public relations officer Leonie Vandeven and former events and sponsorship manager Kirsty Aitken both claim they were made redundant because they were pregnant or on maternity leave.

They are suing their former employer for unspecified damages.

Ms Aitken was trying to negotiate her return from maternity leave when she was told there was no work for her, and Ms Vandeven was pregnant with her second child when her position ended.

But Virgin Australia barrister Chris Murdoch put it to Ms Vandeven that her manager Danielle Keighery was not even aware she was pregnant when she was made redundant.

Ms Vandeven rejected that “absolutely”, but Mr Murdoch produced multiple emails in which the public relations worker told friends she was keeping her pregnancy quiet because of her work situation.

In Ms Aitken’s case, Mr Murdoch insisted she was intending to go out on her own after a “change in direction” by the airline when John Borghetti took over.
The court heard one of Ms Aitken’s emails were sent to Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and announced she planned to set up her own events management company.

But Ms Aitken claims this was sent after she was made redundant.

The Federal Magistrates Court hearing in Brisbane has been set down for five days.

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