Melanie Cairns threatens legal action, claiming Marc Ellis told her to be ‘more girlie’.

Chris Cairns' wife has threatened legal action against former All Black Marc Ellis, claiming he harassed her and tried to have her falsify US immigration documents for him.

Melanie Cairns, the wife of the former New Zealand cricketer, has instructed lawyers to draft papers against Ellis and take him to the Employment Relations Authority - and possibly the Human Rights Commission.

Cairns was hired by Ellis in August 2014 as a project director at the Media Blanco advertising agency, of which Ellis is a director and main shareholder.

But after an employment wrangle saw Cairns leave the job before what Cairns claims was the agreed finish date of 31 July this year, Cairns says she wants paying out of their arrangement and for Ellis to take responsibility over a raft of work-related allegations.

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In a statement obtained by the Herald on Sunday, Cairns' allegations against Ellis include:

• That Ellis harassed and bullied Cairns on a work trip, telling her she "acted too much like a man" and should be "more girlie";

• That the former All Black requested Cairns to ignore his 2005 drug conviction and falsify US immigration documents for him;

• That Ellis consistently undermined Cairns' work with unprofessional behaviour - including on a Japanese business trip in which he urinated in the hallway of a top Tokyo hotel and was hours late for a meeting because he was hungover; and

• That Ellis racially abused Asian employees of Media Blanco's own client, Toyota.

Cairns says attempts to resolve the employment dispute with Ellis have failed and she has now ordered lawyers to begin proceedings against the entrepreneur.

"I want him to be held responsible for the way that he has acted. In this day and age, in a place like New Zealand, [in my opinion] senior women in business shouldn't have to put up with treatment like this and people just think they can get away with it," Cairns told the Herald on Sunday.

"He needs to take responsibility for what he's done. I now have to go through this court process which is a six-to-eight-month, lengthy process and extremely money-draining for me and my family as well.

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"I'm really disappointed to be forced to go through that and I'm just not going to go away and say nothing, which is what I think he was hoping I would do."

Cairns' legal case against Ellis also includes a signed witness statement from one of Media Blanco's clients, Vroni Shiohara.

Shiohara's witness statement, also obtained by the Herald on Sunday, says Ellis claimed Cairns "acted like a man" and that he had upset Cairns by openly discussing her private life - including details of her husband's court battle.

The Herald on Sunday approached Ellis for comment yesterday on the allegations made by Cairns. In an emailed statement, he wrote: "Mel appear [sic] to be a woman under pressure. I do not intend to dignify her assertions with a response. I think she should contact my lawyer, again."

Ellis is no stranger to controversy, having been involved with a number of stunts and legal scrapes over the years. He is currently warring with a Waiheke Island neighbour over a stone wall on the driveway to his new home and in 2005 he was convicted of Class B drug possession, which led to his resignation from the board of Charlie's Group.

In 2011, the sale of Charlie's New Zealand juice company that Ellis co-founded was said to have netted him around $18 million.