Ex-Sunrise news presenter takes Seven to Fair Work Commission

Former Weekend Sunrise newsreader Talitha Cummins is taking Seven to the Fair Work Commission for unfair dismissal.

Cummins, who was in the role for nearly three years, was called by news boss Craig McPherson during maternity leave and told her casual contract had ended. She was offered a temporary role reading the 5am weekday bulletin but declined, following the birth of her son, Oliver. She has been with Seven for more than 13 years.

The Daily Telegraph reports the call came on the same day promotions began for an episode of Australian Story in which she detailed a battle with alcoholism. The story claims Cummins sought permission to appear in the program and was told the network would not stand in her way. The episode was introduced by Chris Bath.

Neither Cummins, her lawyer John Laxon or Channel 7 would comment.

The new legal battle comes hot on the heels of Seven’s headlines surrounding CEO Tim Worner and executive assistant Amber Harrison. Whilst standing by its CEO, Seven has commissioned an independent investigation but Harrison is yet to be interviewed by law firm, Allens.

“[I want] Kerry Stokes and Bruce McWilliam to resign,” Harrison told Fairfax Media this week.

“A generational and cultural shift on the Seven West Media board. They need to install a director who actually lives and breathes equality.”

Meanwhile reports question whether Tim Worner’s possible attendance at the Australian Open could reignite media attention.

“In light of the issues aired, Mr Worner’s attendance could conceivably be quite awkward for Seven’s clients and guests and simply give the whole controversy new oxygen (it would certainly be a powerful reminder of it),” said Sefiani Communications director Nick Owens.

16 Comments:

  1. I remember reading a couple of years ago Talitha had quit Seven. But she never actually left, just signed a casual contract. It seems like poor form for Seven to ‘sack’ her while she’s on maternity leave. However, the fact of the matter is her contract expired and Seven chose not to renew it.

    Seven offered her another position, which they didn’t have to do. She turned it down. So be it.

  2. From the fairwork website.
    A casual employee:
    has no guaranteed hours of work
    usually works irregular hours (but can work regular hours)
    doesn’t get paid sick or annual leave
    can end employment without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award or employment contract.

    For casual employees to be eligible for unpaid parental leave they need to have:
    been working for their employer on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months
    a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis, had it not been for the birth or adoption of a child.

    Transferring a mother with a newly-born child to a job that starts at 5am is unconscionable. Currently, morals seem to be sadly lacking at the Seven network.

  3. There is no debating the timing is no coincidence. The question is how her casual contract works. if she was getting a 25% loading then she has no entitlement to job security, and wouldn’t have a leg to stand on cant have it both ways. She should count herself fortunate that she was offered another position, if she didnt accept it that is her choice.

  4. The connection with her Australian Story episode seems undeniable. Talitha was featured in a bloopers montage on Sunrise last week in which she was reading a news story about Malcolm Turnbull’s “big pitch” only she mistakenly said “pig bitch” !

    • Sadly, news readers can stuff up and on live TV its right out there.
      Like Channel 7’s Kendall Gilding’s famous boo-boo about “Serbian tigers” (she mis-read Siberian tigers) on the autocue when being tried out on Weekend Breakfast. Andrew O’Keeffe gently corrected her. Didn’t hold her back, she is now a huge favourite of 7 bosses in Brisbane.

  5. I thought Talitha was always great when she was on Sunrise and it is a blow to her that this has happened especially with her battles. With her Australian Story about her, I thought was eye opening and really well told.

    Hope she can find another job soon.

  6. >> reading the 5am weekday bulletin but declined, following the birth of her son … the call came on the same day promotions began for an episode of Australian Story

    In which case, either incredibly stupid by Seven; or “Guilty as charged Your Honour”.

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