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Former Sunrise reporter is suing Seven for unfair dismissal

Mamamia logo Mamamia 28/03/2017 Katy Hall

Former Sunrise news presenter Talitha Cummins has confirmed she is taking Channel 7 to the Federal Court of Australia on the claim of unfair dismissal.

“I have never wanted any bad blood with my former employer, and I have tried to settle this matter in a manner that recognises my rights under the law,” Cummins said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately we have not been able to reach anything like a reasonable settlement."

Trouble began for Cummins last year when nine weeks after the birth of her first child, Oliver, she was informed by Seven's news chief that her weekend presenter contract would not be renewed. The news came following her maternity leave departure, at which time she had been assured that she had a position to return back to.

Following the news, Cummins was then offered a position reading the 5am weekday news - a role that would require her to be on set at 2 am each day and away from her newborn for much of the week.

Given the unsuitability of the role with her new parenting schedule, Cummins believes she was forced out of the station.

"The issue at stake is an important one, not only for me but for many women, as I’ve observed in practice," Cummins pointed out in her statement.

The 36-year-old continued, “Many aren’t in a position to defend their workplace rights. I’m in the fortunate position where I can. I also have a child now and I feel it’s important to set an example for him about respect for women in the workplace.”

Cummins' lawyers served the television network with a legal notice of intention to pursue her claim in the Federal Court on Tuesday after meditation through the Fair Work Commission broke down.

Once upon a time I was a shy girl who wanted to be a Criminal Psychologist and work in prisons.. how did I end up here?! Big thanks to @womenandtheirstory for the feature ・・・ Talitha, Journalist | Sydney, Australia I was an introverted and very shy young girl, so it’s quite surprising I ended up in the media industry. It was never my intention. I wanted to be a criminal psychologist and work in prisons, though my family and family friends talked me out of that! So I ended up doing Communications and Business. I was always a very curious person and I thought journalism would be interesting. So during my degree I did work experience at Channel 7, 9, 10, at community radio stations and anywhere they’d have me, really. It’s such a competitive industry you had to put the hard yards in even before you got your first job! At the end of all of that I had a showreel. Which I sent around to every outlet in the country. I got a stack of rejection letters. Eventually I was picked up by WIN TV in Cairns and moved my life up there for my first job. I greatly admired Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. She was patron of more than one hundred charities and dedicated her life to helping others. Being mother to Rupert Murdoch, I’m sure she could have spent her life lunching. Yet she chose to spend it helping others. What a woman. My grandmother was a charity worker and was similarly selfless. I think it’s very important for us to give back to the community. If my life had a slogan it would be, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Being that shy girl, I’ve spent most of my life feeling terrified at the prospect of doing particular things, yet pushed through despite the anxiety. For me it was the only way forward. I’d be nowhere today if I listened to my head all the time. You have to challenge your own thinking sometimes. #women #womenandtheirstory #girlpower #ifshecanseeitshecanbeit #womeninmedia #journalism #womeninjournalism #brisbane #inspire #sydney

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