Netflix denies worker’s shocking allegation

A senior Netflix executive is suing the streaming giant over allegations that the company terminated her employment while she was on maternity leave.

The case was heard in the Federal Court on Friday with Vanessa Hughes claiming the company was under “restructuring” and her role would be eliminated.

Ms Hughes says she was then told that none of the new roles created in the restructure would be suitable for her.

Netflix has now defended its claims in court documents seen by news.com.au, saying Ms Hughes had been told she would again be considered for redeployment once she returned from maternity leave.

“The applicant’s position has been rendered redundant,” says Netflix’s response, filed in court on Friday.

“The decision to make the applicant’s position redundant was made for legitimate business reasons and not for the reasons given by the applicant.”

In its response, Netflix also raised several “concerns” about Ms. Hughes’ performance, which resulted in her not being cast in new roles after the restructure.

“These issues included continued failures to share relevant information with stakeholders in a timely manner, to accept and adapt to feedback from those stakeholders, to act proactively, to lead the marketing function effectively as a decision maker, and in providing valuable input as a decision maker,” the documents read.

The company said it considered Ms Hughes for the new roles but made an “initial assessment” that she did not have the required “skills and expertise” and that other employees affected by the redundancies were also better suited.

Ms Hughes’ lawyer Mia Pantechis told news.com.au she denied the concerns and noted her client received a 10% pay rise at the end of 2022.

“Netflix’s response to the proceedings highlights that Ms. Hughes was not given real or fair consideration for the roles because she was on parental leave and exercised her rights,” Ms. Pantechis said.

“There are now vacant roles which she has the skills and experience to fill and which she would be legally entitled to return to if her parental leave were to end. Ms Hughes claims the timing of the restructuring is designed to deny her that guarantee of returning to work.

Ms Hughes is calling on Netflix to declare that it breached the Fair Work Act with its actions and to compensate her for economic loss and general damages.

Prior to the restructure, Ms Hughes worked as a film and series marketing manager for the streamer’s Australian and New Zealand team and was responsible for leading marketing campaigns for shows and films produced or screened by Netflix.

According to her LinkedIn, Ms. Hughes spearheaded the marketing campaign that saw a juggernaut Squid game doll placed at Circular Quay. He also conducted an activation for the series Stranger things at Bondi Beach.

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