fbpx

Former SBS Hindi journo sues network claiming unfair dismissal

By RAJNI ANAND LUTHRA and BAGESHRI SAVYASACHI

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

A community stalwart in the mainstream newspapers, for all the wrong reasons, is bound to cause shock. The Indian community in Sydney and Melbourne woke up to a major story in the newspapers dated 21 June about SBS Hindi. A former employee, journalist Pallavi Jain, is taking the multicultural broadcaster to court claiming unfair dismissal.

Jain claimed that she had been bullied and harassed by her then-manager and SBS Hindi’s executive producer Kumud Merani since she joined the program in 2013.

- Advertisement -

Well-known in Australia’s Indian community, and one of the most recognisable figures in the Sydney community’s social scene, Merani has led SBS Hindi from 1985 until her retirement this year. So long has been her career with the one-hour daily show, that her name is almost synonymous with SBS Hindi.

According to court documents, Jain had filed three complaints with SBS about being bullied by Merani. The first official complaint made in 2015 was internally reviewed and dismissed by SBS.

Jain then reached out to external organisations for help. Subsequently, the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance’s union for journalists (MEAA) actions through the Fair Work Commission forced SBS to carry out an independent investigation. In 2016, the investigation found Jain’s claims to be true.

It was reported that the investigation “determined Merani had engaged in repeated, unwelcome, unsolicited, unreciprocated behaviour that constituted bullying and harassment while finding Jain to be an honest and reliable witness.”

Despite the evidence, the multicultural broadcaster refused Jain’s requests to change managers. SBS’s non-redressal of her situation led to deteriorating mental health, anxiety and panic attacks, Jain’s medical records showed.

Kumud Merani and Pallavi Jain pictured in 2016. sbs hindi
Kumud Merani and Pallavi Jain pictured in 2016. Source: SBS Hindi/ Twitter

To read of such a stalwart accused of relentless workplace bullying in the two newspapers raised more than few eyebrows.

But not everyone is shocked.

“The Pallavi story has been known for some time now, discussed and dissected at length,“ one associate of SBS Hindi told Indian Link. ( They do not wish to reveal whether they were one of the sources interviewed by SMH / The Age.)

It is not an isolated case either, the source revealed, citing names and grievances, some of them going back more than two decades.

Some community members/listeners also have had grievances of their own, which they  raised with SBS management on multiple occasions but did not see satisfactory redressal.

 

“I must have complained so many times against the non-journalistic behaviour by @SBSHindi over the years, but not much was done by the senior management. It’s time that @SBS MD and senior management do wake up and fix the problem,” Yadu Singh added.

“Finally, a fair & appropriate action by @SBS management will be to reinstitute @Pallavi_Aus in her @SBSHindi job. She has suffered a lot. Ms. Merani is gone. It’s the time for @SBS to do the right thing! Take Pallavi back! @PaulFletcherMP @MRowlandMP @ScottMorrisonMP 4/.”

The Merani case comes in the wake of other reports of a toxic culture at the multicultural broadcaster. The SMH / The Age stories cite veteran news presenter Lin Lee Chin as she made claims of junior staff facing bullying at SBS.

Other journalists have made similar claims.

In 2020, Nick Bhasin wrote an article in the SMH exposing toxic workplace culture at SBS when he complained to HR about ignorant remarks. “The prejudice I faced wasn’t a network problem – it was mine,” he wrote citing weak redressal.

As the hearing of Jain’s general protections claim begins today, the Pallavi Jain vs SBS case of David and Goliath will have the community closely watching.

From The Age and SMH reports

If you’re facing bullying at the workplace, you can apply for an order to stop the bullying with Fair Work Commission.

If you’ve experienced bullying and it is affecting your mental health, talk things through with Beyond Blue’s Support Services on 1300 22 4636.

READ ALSO: Tackling workplace vilification


Link up with us!

Indian Link News website: Save our website as a bookmark

Indian Link E-NewsletterSubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter

Indian Link Newspaper: Click here to read our e-paper

Indian Link app: Download our app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and subscribe to the alerts

Facebookfacebook.com/IndianLinkAustralia

Twitter: @indian_link

Instagram: @indianlink

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/IndianLinkMediaGroup

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

REVIEW: Antim – The Final Truth

0
  Director Mahesh Manjrekar's Antim: The Final Truth is a crime drama centred around the circle of fate. Based on the Marathi film Mulshi Pattern,...

The religious discrimination bill will make LGBTIQ+ Australians sick

0
  The Morrison government’s religious discrimination bill was introduced to parliament on Thursday. The bill, now on its third draft, has been a contentious piece of...
ICC T20 WC 2021 delivers record viewership. Pictured here, Indian team captain Virat Kohli with Pakistani team captain Babbar Azam and opener Mohammad Rizwan. Source: IANS

WC 2021: India-Pak match becomes most watched T20I in history

0
  With nearly 10,000 hours of live coverage across TV and digital platforms in 200 countries, the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup delivered a...
jango film

Film Review: Jango

0
  Claimed to be India's first time loop film, Jango is a brave attempt at storytelling. Choosing to make a film knowing fully well that...

REVIEW: Sabhaapathy

0
  Director R. Srinivasa Rao's 'Sabhaapathy' is a light-hearted entertainer that, despite its flaws, just about works. AT A GLANCE Starring: Santhanam, M.S. Baskar, Preeti Verma,...