By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Former David Jones junior publicist Kristy Fraser-Kirk yesterday lodged a statement of claim in the Federal Court against the department store retailer. Fraser-Kirk is seeking $37 million for what is described as “misleading or deceptive conduct”.
Amongst those listed as respondents in this claim are former CEO Mark McInnes, current CEO Paul Zahra, and David Jones Limited.
This court case stems from Fraser-Kirk’s explosive accusations of sexual misconduct against McInnes. McInnes was forced to resign in disgrace on 18 June 2010. Despite admitting that he “behaved in a manner unbecoming of the high standard expected of a chief executive officer to a female staff member”, McInnes received a reported golden handshake of around $2 million.
In her first public appearance since forcing McInnes’ resignation, Fraser-Kirk told a media pack outside her that her whole life had been “turned upside down” by this sordid episode. According to the statement of claim lodged under privilege in the Federal Court, McInnes approached Fraser-Kirk at a work function, telling her that the dessert was like a “f… in the mouth”.
In order to aggregate more claims against David Jones, Fraser-Kirk told the media yesterday that she was setting up a hotline for other David Jones employees who claim to be victims of sexual harassment.
In a prepared response to Fraser-Kirk’s claims, David Jones said that both the company and the directors will defend the claims “vigorously”.
Fraser-Kirk said that should her case be successful, any punitive funds would be donated to charity. Fraser-Kirk is being represented pro bono by Harmers Workplace Lawyers.