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Monique Ryan staffer Sally Rugg claims she was sacked after complaining about "unreasonable" work hours

ABC News (AU) logo ABC News (AU) 31/01/2023 By political reporter Matthew Doran
Sally Rugg (left) has launched legal action against Monique Ryan. (Supplied/AAP) © Provided by ABC News (AU) Sally Rugg (left) has launched legal action against Monique Ryan. (Supplied/AAP)

A staffer of federal MP Monique Ryan is claiming in court documents she was sacked after she complained of working "unreasonable" hours.

Sally Rugg had been working as Dr Ryan's chief of staff, joining the member for Kooyong's office shortly after the former paediatric neurologist toppled then-treasurer Josh Frydenberg at the 2022 federal election.

Ms Rugg is taking the Commonwealth and Dr Ryan to the Federal Court, alleging she was sacked by the Commonwealth after complaining of moves to get her to work "additional hours", allegedly in breach of the Fair Work Act.

The Commonwealth is Ms Rugg's official employer, but court documents lodged by her legal team allege that Dr Ryan was the "principal actor" on behalf of the Commonwealth in this dispute.

Ms Rugg alleges in the documents she was dismissed by the Commonwealth because she had exercised her right under the Fair Work Act "to refuse to work additional hours that were unreasonable".

She wants the court to rule that her complaint led to "adverse action" being taken against her by the Commonwealth, "being to injure the applicant in her employment by engaging in hostile conduct in the workplace".

The documents, filed in the court's Melbourne registry, say Ms Rugg's sacking was due to come into effect on January 31, and state she is seeking an injunction to stop that from happening until the court case is finalised.

Ms Rugg is also seeking compensation from the Commonwealth and Dr Ryan.

The first hearing in the matter is expected on Friday morning, before Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer.

Ms Rugg was a prominent community activist before joining Dr Ryan's staff, working for petition platform and as a prominent "yes" campaigner during the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

On Monday, Dr Ryan told the ABC she could not comment on the matter. The ABC has contacted her again after viewing the court documents, but has not yet received a response.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher's office also would not comment, given the matter was before the court.

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