The significance of Fraser-Kirk v David Jones

The ASX and Media Release from David Jones Limited dated 18 October 2010 is brief:

David Jones Limited today announced that a settlement has been reached with Ms Kristy Fraser-Kirk in relation to proceedings in the Federal Court and her complaint in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The settlement amount is $850,000 inclusive of all legal and other costs and expenses comprising a contribution from David Jones and a smaller contribution from Mark McInnes.

The significance of the case for companies is that, separate from the employee’s claim against the former CEO for sexual harassment, all of the directors were sued personally for inadequate complaints procedures and for misleading and deceptive conduct for failing to correct incorrect statements about other instances of misconduct at the press conference announcing the CEO’s resignation.

Whilst the misleading conduct claim will now not be decided it is clear that boards need to monitor sexual harassment claims against staff as part of their compliance program.

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