ClubsNSW has filed its defence against former employee turned whistleblower Troy Stolz, further signalling a potentially lengthy and expensive legal fight.
Mr Stolz, who worked as an anti-money laundering compliance auditor for ClubsNSW. In March, he took legal action against his former employer in the Federal Circuit Court alleging defamation, bullying, sham contracting, underpayment and other breaches of the Fair Work Act.
Now the peak industry body for registered clubs in NSW has filed a response to his statement of claim, arguing Mr Stolz worked as an independent contractor rather than an employee for most of the relevant period and his defamation claim should be thrown out.
In its defence, ClubsNSW says that from the period September 2011 to October 2017 Mr Stolz traded under the business name C2C Solutions.
It argues he is not owed superannuation, long service leave and annual leave for this period as claimed because he was an independent contractor, not an employee.
Its defence says he was “directed and supervised by ClubsNSW in only a limited way” and “was not required to work exclusively for ClubsNSW”.
ClubsNSW also disputes many of the conversations outlined in Mr Stolz’s statement of claim actually took place, arguing the alleged defamatory imputations were not made.
ClubsNSW said it also intended to rely on defences of justification, contextual truth and qualified privilege.
A tale of two courts
The legal contest is made even more complicated as it is just one of two disputes currently underway.
ClubsNSW is also taking action against Mr Stolz in the Federal Court, where it has accused him of breaching a confidentiality agreement by giving a ClubsNSW board paper to independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
When he requested leave to table the document in Parliament, Mr Wilkie was refused, leading him to call out in the chamber: “They’re running a protection racket for the gambling industry!”
ClubsNSW’s action could test the centuries-old tradition of parliamentary privilege, which has allowed MPs to disclose information from whistleblowers in Parliament.
The Federal Circuit Court matter is listed for a further directions hearing next month.
This is an abridged version of an ABC news article appearing on www.msn.com on 17 June. For the full story click here>>>>