Former football player and sacked sports presenter Warren Tredrea is asking the Federal Court to demand Nine Network pay him up to almost $6 million in lost wages.
The AFL Hall of Fame inductee launched legal action after he was dismissed from his $192,500 per year job with Channel 9 following a vaccination saga at the end of 2021.
The 43-year-old took sudden leave from his position as the 9 News Adelaide sports presenter in December with no explanation.
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Following weeks of silence, it was revealed in January Tredea was no longer working with the network, following a career spanning more than 10 years, because he refused to be vaccinated.
Tredrea is now claiming he was unlawfully dismissed and launched proceedings in the Federal Court in October demanding he be paid the remaining $176,458 of his contract.
However, he is also claiming he should be paid up to 30 years of pay for the “missed opportunity of employment”, which equates to $5,775,000.
While the matter was expected to remain in the Federal Court and go to trial mid-2023, where top scientists were to give evidence of the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, Tredrea’s lawyers this week told court it may be avoided.
Lawyers for both parties are instead planning on mediating and coming to an agreement rather than going to trial.
In an extensive statement of claim issued to court, Tredrea’s lawyers claimed there was no evidence the vaccines worked against later strains of Covid-19, including delta and omicron.
He claimed the vaccines did little to stop transmission of the virus, and says both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs “had an increased risk of certain medical conditions”.
“There are and were at all material times, other measures and control mechanisms in the workplace that were equally effective as, if not more effective than, vaccination,” the statement of claim reads.
The measures include social distancing and improved hygiene in the office.
In the statement of claim, where he is described as “famous in South Australia for playing AFL”, it reveals all employees of the network were issued a formal direction in October 2021.
The direction said every employee had to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to work onsite, with Tredrea given a deadline of January 4 this year.
But he did not follow the direction and was fired via a letter from news director of 9 News Adelaide, Jeremy Pudney.
Further documents released by the court reveal the former AFL player threatened legal action within days of his dismissal.
In Channel 9’s defence document, the network said Tredrea had engaged in “serious misconduct” by expressing an opinion in relation to vaccines during a radio broadcast on 5AA.
During the broadcast, he admitted to not being vaccinated and said “everyone is entitled to what they want to do because it’s your body”.
“It’s everyone’s individual situation and choice, so if a player doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine, that’s their decision, you shouldn’t be able to lose your employment,” he said.
He also said the vaccination push was “discriminatory” and it should be a “confidential right” to “make your own choice and do your own homework”.
The matter will return to court in 2023.