Antoinette Lattouf sacked by ABC, Fair Work Commission rules

ABC Antoinette Lattouf

The decision means Lattouf can pursue her unfair dismissal case against the ABC in the federal court.

Antoinette Lattouf was sacked by the ABC after she was taken off-air for posting content from Human Rights Watch about the war in Gaza on her personal Instagram account, the Fair Work Commission has ruled. 

After Lattouf was sent home on day three of a five-day assignment presenting at ABC Radio Sydney in December, she lodged an unfair dismissal claim against the ABC. 

The ABC told her she breached its social media policy, she told the FWC. The ABC claimed Lattouf was not terminated, because she was paid for all five days.

In a decision published today, the FWC found that Lattouf’s employment was terminated by her managers during a meeting in December, meaning she can now pursue her unfair dismissal case, which she has filed in the Federal Court.

The Commission’s deputy president, Gerard Boyce, found that the ABC did not tell Lattouf in the meeting with her managers that she would be paid for the full five days of her contract.

“I find that the weight of the ABC’s own evidence points toward there being no firm position or even an understanding, leading up to, or immediately after, the 20 December meeting, that the applicant was to be paid for the remainder of her shift hours after she was told to leave the ABC’s premises,” he said.

“The applicant was not allocated any further or other work to perform, and she was asked to politely leave (sooner rather than later) the ABC premises.”

After deputy president Boyce’s decision was published, the media union, the Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance, posted on X, congratulating Lattouf for “standing your ground when you were unfairly dismissed by the ABC.”

The day before she was let go, Lattouf shared a post from the Human Rights Watch to her personal Instagram story, which reported that the Israeli government was using starvation as a weapon of war. 

She added the comment: “HRW reporting starvation as a tool of war.”

The ABC also reported on the same story, a day prior to the Instagram story going live. 

In a statement posted on LinkedIn, Lattouf revealed she is pleased that the Fair Work Commission dismissed ABC’s claim that she wasn’t sacked.

“I believe the ABC’s challenge was a waste of taxpayers’ money, causing unnecessary delays in my pursuit of truth and justice,” she said.

“I remain bitterly disappointed that I was fired for posting a fact the ABC itself was also reporting, namely a report of Human Rights Watch about starvation used as a tool of war.

“I remain committed to achieving a just outcome in this matter, for me and a free and fair press. An unprecedented amount of journalists have been targeted and killed in Palestine. Countless journalists in Australia are also under attack. The truth isn’t always convenient or comfortable, but it doesn’t stop being factual.

“I remain passionate about an ABC that is fearless, independent, and not brittle and susceptible to external pressure.”

Last week, the ABC’s chief political correspondent for 7.30, Laura Tingle, was counselled by ABC news director Justin Stevens for calling Australia a “racist country” at the Sydney Writers Festival.

Stevens said the comments “lacked the context, balance and supporting information of her work for the ABC and would not have met the ABC’s editorial standards.”

Tingle maintained the backlash was “yet another anti-ABC pile on.”

See also: ABC Sydney staff threaten walkout over Antoinette Lattouf’s termination

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