Sacked adviser’s court claim could be a first
A FORMER government media adviser who is suing the State for compensation over his dismissal by Premier's department is also making a political discrimination claim.
Queensland Human Rights Commission has accepted Neil Doorley's complaint, which alleges he was a victim of discrimination because of his political activity or belief or impairment.
If conciliation fails, it is expected to be one of the first discrimination cases to test whether a person could be discriminated against because of a lack of political belief.
Mr Doorley, who worked for four State ministers over three years, claims in court documents he was dismissed without being given a reason in November, last year.
He is seeking compensation in Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
In a letter attached to Mr Doorley's discrimination complaint, his lawyer said Mr Doorley was told his employer was under no obligation to advise him of the reason for his termination.
But he was told his employer had lost confidence in him "in part'' because he had asked a media adviser in the Premier's office about a leak out of that office.
He claimed the media adviser "became very hostile'' and said she would be raising his inquiry with the Premier.
The adviser told Mr Doorley he should stop going around bagging their (Premier's) office to senior public servants and other media advisers, it was claimed.
His discrimination complaint says when he became a government media adviser Mr Doorley clearly said he had not and never intended to become a member of the ALP.
When told, as a Ministerial senior media adviser that he would be expected to campaign for the Minister and the ALP before an election, he made it clear he would not do so.
In document lodged with the QIRC, Mr Doorley said the Premier's chief-of-staff David Barbagallo told him early last year that Minister Leeanne Enoch did not want him in her office, because of staff complaints.
Mr Doorley claimed Mr Barbagallo told him he could be ostracised by Left Ministers because of Minister Enoch's concerns.
"I pointed out that I was not a member of the ALP, and therefore the Labor Left faction,'' Mr Doorley said, in a filed email.
Mr Doorley claims he was often blamed by senior staff within the Office of Premier and Cabinet for media leaks, but he claims Minister Steven Miles leaked to the media.
He claims he was sacked after taking stress leave and after Premier's staff failed to provide him with details of alleged complaints against him, despite repeated requests.
Mr Doorley claims he suffered significant stress and anxiety, he lost confidence, he lost wages and opportunity and he is seeking compensation for hurt, humilation and distress.
His lawyer, Benedict Coyne, said Queensland Human Rights Commission had accepted that Mr Doorley had a valid discrimination complaint.
If the matter fails to conciliate it is also likely to go to a QIRC hearing.
The State government is yet to lodge its response to the claims made by Mr Doorley, however has previously said his unfair dismissal case is without merit. (**DO NOT REMOVE THIS LAST LINE, ON LEGAL ADVICE.**-)