Anyone who wants to understand the culture inside Rupert Murdoch’s global empire should check out this extraordinary judgment on June 25 from the NSW Supreme Court. It involves one Dave Devandar, who used to be second in charge of security for News Ltd in Sydney during the 1990s.
As a result of alleged systematic bullying by a senior News executive, his boss, Dave is unable to work for the rest of his life, and will need regular bouts of hospitalisation. He has been awarded damages that appear to exceed $2 million, to be split 65% by News Ltd and 35% by Group 4.
The damages include lost salary of $70,000 a year until the age of 65. His employment was terminated in 1998, aged 38, so that is at least 25 years, or $1.75 million.
Then there are general damages of $200,000, exemplary damages against News Ltd of $150,000, plus $115,000 already paid out by the NSW WorkCover Authority, which they will presumably be claiming back against News and Group 4. This looks lilke one of the biggest cases of workplace bullying in Australian history, yet it hasn’t been reported anywhere.
According to the judgment, Dave was being harassed and sexually assaulted by his News boss when he was guarding Cumberland Newspapers during a strike by journalists. There’s also a reference to guarding Lachlan Murdoch’s home. The judgment is a long read but well worth a look.