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Sacked RSPCA Executives File General Protections Claims

Sacked RSPCA executives file general protections claims

Two RSPCA executives have filed general protections claims arguing they were sacked for blowing the whistle on “misconduct and corruption”.

The allegations made by the pair relate to senior management, including CEO Darren Maier.

However, the animal charity wants the claims thrown out, saying it made both men redundant following a restructure.

RSPCA executive made redundant after complaint 

Former RSPCA general manager George Costi (left) and ex-chief financial officer Nick Crethar (right) filed their general protections claims in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

Crethar says the animal charity terminated his employment after 10 years as CFO despite performing his job with “passion, commitment and diligence”.

He said he helped deliver the RSPCA an $8 million surplus, putting it in “the best financial position of its history”.

Crethar alleges that management made him redundant as a result of him exercising his workplace right to make a complaint against Maier.

Whistleblower investigation

Meanwhile, Costi ran the RSPCA’s commercial operations for 11 years.

He claims the charity dismissed him in November as a result of making a whistleblower complaint about alleged misconduct “perpetrated by the HR manager and others”.

He said the RSPCA enjoyed “national recognition for animal care and protection” under his management.

Both executives are seeking reinstatement and compensation.

Genuine redundancies

In response, the RSPCA denies the allegations of “maladministration, misconduct and corruption”.

It describes them as “vague and embarrassing”.

However, a previous independent whistleblower probe found Maier had breached conflict of interest policies when he appointed associates to roles within the organisation.

One of them was his son’s basketball coach.

Still, the charity maintains it ended the employment of both executives through genuine redundancies following an organisational restructure.

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Workplace rights

Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said the Fair Work Act offers employees certain workplace rights.

“They’re called your general protections,” he said. “And they include the right to make a complaint or inquiry about your employment,” he said.

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