A PR firm being sued for unfair dismissal by former journalist Asher Moses has claimed in its defence that Asher Moses was affected by cannabis when working, and had repeatedly not shown up for work during the required hours.

Moses, a former Fairfax technology journalist, filed his claim against M+C Partners with the Federal Court last year, alleging he was sacked after he was diagnosed with depression after his father’s illness and death (which he told his employers about), and that he was forced to sell back his equity in the business for nothing after he was deemed a “bad leaver”. Moses, who was a senior executive in the company, says he told his employers about his mental health diagnosis, and that his role and responsibilities were diminished before he was dismissed.

In its defence, filed with the court on Thursday January 18, M+C said Moses had been dismissed because he had breached his contract by not working the required hours in the office, breaking the drug and alcohol policy by going to work while under the influence of cannabis, and that his performance was poor. The company said it had not been informed by Moses of his mental illness including depression, that he’d not told them his cannabis use was related to his grief or mental illness, and that he didn’t pass on any medical evidence of his mental illness.

M+C Partners has also lodged a cross-claim with the court, alleging Moses has breached the confidentiality requirements of his contract with detailing the shares and their value that he held in his court claim.

Moses told Crikey: “I utterly deny the unsubstantiated allegations and reject any attempts to damage my reputation. I stand by my claim completely.”

M+C Partners would not comment on the matter.