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More Employees Come Forward With Allegations Against Embattled Super Retail Group

The saga around the A$50 million lawsuit against Super Retail Group (SRG) thickened this week. Harmers Workplace Lawyers, which represents the whistleblowers in the case, have now said in a statement released on Monday that it is representing four clients and that it has been approached by a “further number” of current and former employees “with similar concerns.”

This adds to the woes of the A$4 billion retail giant which issued a statement to the ASX last week saying that it was getting ready to defend itself against two litigants represented by Harmers Workplace Lawyers.

SRG, whose retail portfolio includes Rebel, Supercheap Auto, Macpac and Boating, and Camping Fishing, said in that statement to the ASX that the case it expects to fight in court relates to “the non-disclosure of a relationship” between SRG’s CEO and group managing director Anthony Heraghty and the company’s former chief human resources officer Jane Kelly (who is not one of the two employees making the claim) as well as claims of “inappropriate company travel; bullying, victimisation and adverse treatment; particular employees in the corporate team having unreasonable workloads, insufficient resources and restricted access to information; and unsatisfactory company record management.”

Harmers claims that SRG as recently as this month denied the existence of any relationship of the kind alleged between Heraghty and Kelly. Harmers says that when it pointed out that it “had clear proof of an intimate relationship, and thus a significant unreported conflict of interest,” SRG’s position immediately shifted.

Harmers said that SRG revealed to certain of its staff that a relationship does now exist between Heraghty and Kelly – but that SRG contends it was only from January 2024. However, even from that date, such a relationship, claims Harmers, carries a significant conflict of interests.

Harmers goes on to add in its media statement that “a third party, not associated with SRG, has now also come forward to us with key evidence about the previously undisclosed personal relationship.”

The law firm says that the “litigation will extend to Mr Heraghty personally as CEO.”

Harmers notes that one of the clients it represents in this case made a whistleblower complaint back in November 2023, via the internal whistleblower platform Whispli, concerning the longer term existence of the relationship between Kelly and Heraghty and its impact on governance issues, but that the “complaint was removed from the Integrity Officer and the Head of Risk and given to HR management answering directly to Ms Kelly.”

Harmers says that its clients had previously offered to confidentially settle the matter with SRG “for sums less than one third” of the A$30 million – A$50 million that the lawsuit is estimated at, while also refuting claims that the damages it is now claiming amount to a “shakedown” of SRG.

SRG meanwhile has contended that its board, supported by independent external advisers, has already conducted a review and investigation into the allegations. It concluded that none of the allegations were substantiated.

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