A Brisbane law firm has been hit by an accusation from a former paralegal employee that the firm had dishonestly reduced her pay as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The paralegal, Carly Ann Frances Bullock accused the firm AJ & Co and its founder Andrew Johnson of unconscionable conduct when they told her all staff were taking a 20 per cent pay cut due to the pandemic, which reduced her annual salary from $75,000 to $60,000 for some months.
Bullock alleged that she was told the pay cuts were “not up for discussion” and that all staff were being made to sign a letter agreeing to the salary changes. However, the court documents, obtained by NewsCorp, alleged that she soon discovered that other staff had come to other agreements with the firm about their salary.
She claims that one of her bosses told her that Mr Johnson was on the “war path” of cutting back staff and she should “do herself a favour” by signing the letter. She said she felt that she had no choice but to sign or she would also be terminated.
She alleges that the law firm increased her workload when the terminations meant that they were understaffed. She also alleges that when she was offered a cash bonus in July for performing and receipting billable work on files, the targets were allegedly set too high. Mr Johnson said the budget set was equal to her salary.