Former Radio NZ news manager Lynne Snowdon has lost her marathon employment dispute with the state broadcaster.
In a decision issued today the Employment Court has scored the legal battle – believed to be the longest running employment dispute – at 3-0 to Radio NZ.
Judge Tony Ford said it was a rare case where Radio NZ had been able to establish on “entirely convincing facts” that Snowdon was substantially responsible for the irreconcilable breakdown in the employment relationship.
Snowdon went on sick leave in January 2003. She was dismissed in April 2005.
It’s insane that this case has dragged on for ten years. Hopefully this brings it to an end. I’ve followed the case for many years and had little doubt it would end this way.
Judge Tony Ford dismissed grounds claiming Snowdon had a disadvantage grievance, was unjustifiably dismissed, and that Radio NZ had falsely represented the financial situation at the heart of Snowdon’s complaints.
He said it had been a relatively straightforward employment dispute that had spiralled out of control.
Snowdon’s husband, John Hickling, told the court last year that it had cost Snowdon and her family more than $3.5 million to fight at that stage.
Snowdon let her grievance become an obsession. Off memory it all began as a dispute with then CEO Sharon Crosbie over the budget for the news division. If you don’t like the budget your boss gives you, then go find a new job – don’t turn it into a ten year dispute. If they really have spent $3.5 million on the fight, then that is even sadder, No one forced them to do so.
Since then the case has consumed another 47-day hearing.
The judge said Radio NZ was entitled to costs and if the parties could not agree between themselves they would be decided by the court.
As a taxpayer, I want them to recover as many of their costs as possible.