Traffic company boss ‘lied’ about big bonus payments
The sacked boss of debt-laden traffic control group Evolution lied when he denied paying himself "significant" bonus payments without the approval of the board, the company claims in court documents.
Marshall Scott was fired by the Brisbane-based company in June 2019 for alleged gross misconduct in relation to the payments but is now suing Evolution for unfair dismissal.
But in a defence lodged with the Federal Court, Evolution claims Mr Scott was dishonest when he claimed the bonus had the approval of the company. The amount of the bonus payments were not disclosed.
"The responses you gave us amount to gross misconduct justifying summary dismissal, because during that conversation you lied to us, by initially denying that you had authorised the payment of significant bonuses to you without the necessary board approval; and telling us that the bonuses had been independently verified when they had not," the company told Mr Scott in the dismissal letter that is included in the defence document.
"We have verified the true position and are satisfied that you did, in fact, lie to us about each of these matters. Lying to the board could not be a more serious matter. It goes to the heart of the trust we must have for your employment to continue. Very simply, your lies demonstrate, in the strongest terms, that we cannot trust you to be honest with the board, to provide honest answers to questions we pose."
Mr Marshall, who served as chief executive of Brisbane-based Evolution from February 2018 until June last year, claims the bonus payments were rightly given to him and is seeking compensation and reinstatement for unfair dismissal.
In documents lodged with the court in August, Mr Marshall alleged he advised the company's human resources manager on June 21, 2019, that he was taking sick leave due to a temporary illness.
But on the same day he received a letter from the company that stated his employment was being terminated due to alleged breaches of his employment contract in relation to bonus payments. Mr Marshall maintains his contract provided for the bonus payments.
Evolution, which is one of the largest traffic control companies in Australia and New Zealand, earlier this year put a subsidiary firm called Evolution Traffic Control into administration owing creditors an estimated $14 million.
Evolution Group, which up until April included Howard Government minister John Moore on its board, has accrued losses of more than $11 million in the past two years.
Evolution Group chief operating office John Macnamara said in June the group was not under threat of collapse and continued to operate.
"All existing traffic management contracts are being fulfilled and all employees remain on site with all existing jobs preserved."
He said the group's auditors signed off on the company's accounts in December on a going concern basis and the concerns about liabilities related principally to the debts in the subsidiary now in voluntary administration.
Originally published as Evolution boss 'lied' about big bonus payments