Cricket

Renee Ferguson allegedly made sexual harassment complaints to Cricket Tasmania a year before texting Tim Paine

Renee Ferguson allegedly made sexual harassment complaints to Cricket Tasmania a year before texting Tim Paine

The woman at the center of the sexting saga Tim Paine filed four separate claims of alleged sexual harassment at Cricket Tasmania, more than a year before engaging in a series of texts with the former Test captain, documents filed before the Federal Court of Australia allege .

Renee Ferguson, who worked as a receptionist at Cricket Tasmania from 2015 to 2017, says she filed four complaints with five different senior managers, against three separate men over the same period, alleging sexual harassment in the workplace. dating from 2015.

A Notice of Filing and Hearing filed in the Federal Court of Australia in November alleges that Ms Ferguson filed a complaint with Human Resources Director Merv Saltmarsh in 2016 about comments made to her by the Membership Director Cricket Tasmania caretaker Jon Adams in 2015.

The document was filed as part of a claim for damages by Ms Ferguson against Cricket Tasmania for sexual harassment.

Ms Ferguson alleges Mr Adams said: ‘Hi everyone, Renee will be naked in my flat at 11am today. Get your binoculars out and I’ll open the curtains’ in the presence of staff and floor curators at the reception where Mrs. Ferguson was posted .

Renee Ferguson has been placed on a performance enhancement plan.(Facebook: Renee Ferguson)

The document claims she complained about the comment made to Mr Saltmarsh in early 2016.

It is alleged that Mr Saltmarsh fired Ms Ferguson and said ‘at least he has good taste in women’.

Mr Saltmarsh left Cricket Tasmania in December 2016 to take up a human resources role with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.

The document alleges Ms Ferguson complained again about Mr Adams in April 2016, this time to former Hobart Hurricanes general manager Michael Roberts, who she says told her: ‘don’t tell me these stories, they’re gross,” before suggesting she ignores Mr. Adams. comments.

Mr Roberts left Cricket Tasmania in October of the same year and was appointed Managing Director of Tennis West. He is currently Chief Executive of the West Australian Football Commission.

Around a year later, in mid-2017, Ms Ferguson reportedly complained to Cricket Tasmania’s senior corporate services accountant, Rodney Purves, about the workplace culture within the organisation.

She alleges Mr Purves told her ‘it’s embarrassing and shouldn’t be happening’, but no action was taken.

Around the same time, Ferguson alleges she was sexually harassed by Cricket Tasmania venue manager Stephen McMullen and former top-flight manager Shannon Tubb.

But the document says she did not complain about Mr McMullen’s comments. Mr McMullen has vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed Ms Ferguson.

He is no longer employed by Cricket Tasmania, having left in August last year.

A sports stadium seen from the sky.
Ms Ferguson is currently battling criminal allegations she stole from Cricket Tasmania. (ABC News: Luke Bowden )

SMS with Paine

In November 2017, on the morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Ms Ferguson exchanged text messages with former Test captain Tim Paine.

In response to a photo of his penis, Ms Ferguson replied: “One thing I can guarantee you, I’m a safe. Never say anything again.”

The document alleged that when Ms. Ferguson raised the previous complaints with the organization’s people and culture manager, Zoe Rohrer, she alleged that Ms. Rohrer told her, “I wasn’t here, I can’t not manage [this] historically or retrospectively. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but you have to move on.”

The meeting with Ms Rohrer was requested by Ms Ferguson after she was placed on a performance improvement plan by the organization in August 2017.

The meeting took place two days after the text exchange with Paine, but the court documents do not mention a complaint filed specifically against Paine.

Profile picture of Tim Paine
Tim Paine still wants to play for Australia in the Ashes series.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

The document claims the performance improvement plan was passed after a drop in Ms Ferguson’s work output, which she says was due to a ‘loss of confidence’ after her sexual harassment complaints were allegedly pushed back .

Ms Rohrer became Managing Director of Business Services at Cricket Tasmania in 2018, before becoming Head of Employee Experience at Cricket Victoria in 2021.

She works alongside Cricket Victoria chief executive Nick Cummins, who was chief executive of Cricket Tasmania from April 2017 to December 2019.

The document describes a fourth complaint allegedly made by Ms Ferguson to accountant and payroll officer Kat Carroll, who worked in the same branch of the organization as Ms Ferguson.

Ms Ferguson is currently battling criminal allegations she stole from Cricket Tasmania.

She pleaded not guilty in Hobart Magistrates’ Court to 63 counts of theft and two counts of dishonest acquisition of a financial advantage through the purchase of Cricket Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes memberships .

The charges date back to September 2017, more than a year after she reportedly filed her first sexual harassment complaint, and a month after she was placed on the performance enhancement plan.

In a meeting with Ms Rohrer and her branch manager David Paynter in December 2017, Ms Ferguson was told she would be suspended from work pending an investigation into the financial discrepancies. She resigned shortly thereafter.

At a Federal Court hearing earlier this month, Judge Mordecai Bromberg encouraged Cricket Tasmania and Ms Ferguson to try to settle the civil proceedings out of court.

Mediation has also been set for both sides for March 17, although Cricket Tasmania’s lawyers initially expressed doubts whether an outcome would be achieved by such means.