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Air controllers launch $2m sex harassment suit

from – EMAILED porn and other alleged sex harassment has sparked a $2 million lawsuit by two female air traffic controllers who claim it ruined their careers.

An Airservices Australia manager has been sacked over a series of incidents at Melbourne Airport and the women have launched Federal Court action, claiming they were subjected to ongoing sexual harassment, including one woman who alleged she was physically threatened while pregnant.

Air traffic controllers Jacki Macdonald and Kirsty Fletcher are demanding more than $1 million each for loss of income and their career potential after allegedly being subjected to years of sexual discrimination.

On one occasion, when one of the women was in the early stages of pregnancy, an Airservices manager expressed he was not happy she may need time off and allegedly told her he had a “coat hanger in the back of his car”.

On numerous occasions explicit pornographic material was also sent throughout the offices of the Melbourne operations centre and complaints about it fell on deaf ears, Maurice Blackburn lawyer Josh Bornstein claimed.

“All I wanted to do was be an air traffic controller – if I could do it from my garage I would (but) if you asked me to go back to that workplace tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to take two steps forward,” Ms Macdonald said.

Ms Fletcher said despite numerous complaints to management, the harassment continued for years until the women were forced to leave work.

“I can’t believe that we’ve got to this point,” she said. “I felt that I had no choice (to take legal action).

Airservices, a Commonwealth agency which provides air traffic control, are yet to file a defence to the court claim.


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