Legal wrangling holds up EMA's Thompson exit

By Hayden Donnell

EMA head Alasdair Thompson interviewed by Mihingarangi Forbes screened on Campbell Live last week. Photo / CAMPBELL LIVE
EMA head Alasdair Thompson interviewed by Mihingarangi Forbes screened on Campbell Live last week. Photo / CAMPBELL LIVE

Legal wrangling over a departure settlement is delaying the resignation of under-fire employers association boss Alasdair Thompson, the Herald understands.

Calls to sack Mr Thompson as the chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association have grown since he said women's "monthly sick problems" affected their work productivity last week.

The association met to discuss the fallout from the comments on Tuesday but could not reach a decision on Mr Thompson's fate.

Board chairman Graham Mountfort told the Herald after the meeting the statements were "way off the wall" and had provoked justifiable anger among women.

Sources today said the board were "anxious" to resolve Mr Thompson's employment future but were faced with legal obstacles.

They confirmed an opinion from employment lawyer Karen Radich, partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, who said Mr Thompson was likely negotiating a departure settlement.

"It will be difficult for him to pick up something else straightaway. He will undoubtedly be very concerned about preserving his financial position for as long as possible," Ms Radich said.

Mr Thompson has been on leave since Friday.

Mr Mountfort earlier refused to put a time limit on any decision his future.

Prime Minister John Key earlier said the ball was in the EMA's court.

"They run their own organisation and will understand whether it's in their interests or not."

Founding member of New Zealand Global Women, Dame Jenny Shipley, said it was not up to her whether Mr Thompson kept his job.

But she said it made her "angry and frustrated" to have to address such comments.

"We are a small economy and proud of our firsts in the world. We should not be making news globally on stupid questions that were dismissed 25 years ago," Shipley said.

More than 11,500 people have signed up to a Facebook event calling for women to take an "Alasdair Thompson Women's Monthly Day Off" today.

Your views

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 02 Sep 2014 11:47:49 Processing Time: 769ms