6 Dec 2013

Crosbie gives evidence at RNZ employment case

6:41 pm on 6 December 2013

Radio New Zealand's former chief executive Sharon Crosbie has rejected various complaints and allegations that the organisation's former managing editor made against the company.

Ms Crosbie was giving evidence in the Employment Court in Wellington, which is hearing Lynne Snowdon's legal challenge to her dismissal from the public broadcaster.

Ms Snowdon took sick leave in 2003 and her employment was terminated in 2005 when she failed to return to work.

Earlier in the hearing, she gave evidence that Ms Crosbie had been unrelenting in bullying her.

Sharon Crosbie told the court on Friday about extensive correspondence between Radio New Zealand and Ms Snowdon's lawyers leading up to her taking extended sick leave.

Ms Crosbie said while away from work, Ms Snowdon made several serious allegations against the company, including complaining to police that Radio New Zealand had obstructed the course of justice.

Ms Crosbie said a letter from Ms Snowdon's lawyers said Radio New Zealand was motivated by ill-will towards her, but she believed that she treated Ms Snowdon fairly and reasonably at all times.

However, she told the court that she had very real concerns about Ms Snowdon's performance and conduct while in charge of Radio New Zealand's news division.

Ms Crosbie said the company's human resources and finance departments also brought to her attention their concerns about Ms Snowdon's performance, including her control of the news budget.

She said problems such as budget overspending had not occurred in isolation, but had followed other problems regarding staff management and refusal to take seriously human resources policy which she said Ms Snowdon described as 'silly'.

" I'd encourage Lynne to engage in further training, but she would not. I took advice as to RNZ's employment obligations and concluded that it was appropriate to commence a disciplinary process that called for a formal response from Lynne."

Ms Crosbie said she didn't believe that process would have an impact on Ms Snowdon's health.

The hearing is continuing.