Seven Network under fire following dismissal of cadet

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18:  Amber Harrison July 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Robenstone/Fairfax Media) Amber Harrison by Josh Robenstone
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18: Amber Harrison July 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Robenstone/Fairfax Media) Amber Harrison by Josh Robenstone
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19:  CEO Tim Worner arrives to the Seven West Media financial results presentation on August 19, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: CEO Tim Worner arrives to the Seven West Media financial results presentation on August 19, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media)

The Seven Network's treatment of its female staff is again under fire after the dismissal of a cadet soon after she made a complaint of sexual harassment about an older male reporter.

Amy Taeuber, a 27-year-old cadet journalist in Adelaide, complained about the colleague making disparaging remarks about her marital status and calling her a lesbian.

But Ms Taeuber was suspended after the TV network claimed she had bullied a fellow cadet, presenting her with a series of written allegations during a meeting with Seven's human resources department, the ABC's 7.30 reported on Monday.

An audio recording of the meeting features a shocked Ms Taeuber being told her phone and Seven identity pass would be confiscated, that she was suspended from duty immediately and she could not log out of her computer.

"I feel like this is humiliating me for making a complaint in the first place, and it's really disgusting," Ms Taeuber can be heard saying during the meeting.

"This is disgusting. I've done nothing wrong."

When Ms Taeuber asked for the statement of the person making the allegations of bullying against her, the HR manager said: "OK, so how do we want to plan your exit, Amy? I do understand that we don't want to make it humiliating for you."

The victim of the alleged bullying was a fellow cadet, Peter Fegan, who had not made a complaint against Ms Taeuber.

Instead, the TV network had gone through Ms Taeuber's emails and found references to Mr Fegan, according to 7.30.

The Seven cadets had played a series of pranks on each other which had been filmed and uploaded onto YouTube. 7.30 also reported Ms Taeuber was under investigation for satirical memes about a Seven reality program created by her sister Kate.

The audio recording puts a spotlight on Seven's treatment of its employees. Early in the meeting, the HR manager had ordered Ms Taeuber's support person, chief of staff Lesley Johns, leave the room.

When Ms Johns began to protest, she was cut off.

"Lesley, if you want to talk to me about this matter, we can do it at another time, but it's not appropriate at this stage," the HR manager said.

After she was told she could not shut down her computer, Ms Taeuber said: "I am being bullied in this work place and you guys are doing nothing ..."

The HR manager responded: "OK, I think we'll just shut this down.

"So, no touching the IT. Back to the desk, get your handbag, straight out of the building."

Ms Taeuber's mother Linda told 7.30 she was "absolutely horrified" by what had happened.

Katelin McInerney, a spokeswoman for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said Ms Taeuber should have been told about the nature of the allegations against her.

The treatment of Ms Taeuber follows criticism of the TV network over its treatment of former employee Amber Harrison, who had an affair with Seven chief executive Tim Worner.

A spokesman for the Seven Network said there was an investigation into alleged breaches of Ms Taeuber's employment contract.

"Amy was dismissed because of what she said during the investigation which conflicted with the facts and not for the reasons you've suggested," he said.

"Seven's HR team did not try to build any case against her and their investigation was not related to any complaint made by Amy about other staff."

This story Seven Network under fire following dismissal of cadet first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.