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Around The Firms
9 September, 2005  
Allens fires the wrong people

The bitchy email exchange between two members of staff in the Sydney office of Allens shows the speed with which naked exposure can happen on the internet. True to form, Allens’ responded in precisely the wrong way


The level 19-20 emails between two Allens Arthur Robs members of staff in Sydney have flown around the globe and scarcely a soul with a computer would not have seen them.

imageThe weird thing is that this exchange between Katrina Nugent (right) and Melinda Bird (left) contained no recommendable quality of wit, yet was found to be so riveting by so many. Just like eavesdropping on someone else’s inane phone conversation I suppose.

It is one thing for two people to engage in some spikiness, mistakenly thinking it is private but in this case arguably it is a third party, Allens’ solicitor Jeremy Levitt, who made the most personally intrusive email contribution.

Justinian will not republishing Levitt’s remark because it affects the alleged sexual relations of others. All we can say is in the Allens’ “value” system fee-earner Levitt survives while Nugent and Bird get the chop.

It was immediately after Levitt breached one of these women’s privacy that the email banter within the firm promptly stopped, only to accelerate externally.

It was the bloke that brought all the squabbling to a halt with a comment that went beyond the Pale.

Allens’ flack James Walker issued a tight-lipped official response:

“We are not prepared to discuss any disciplinary action taken or the reasons for it. Given all the circumstances, we have acted appropriately.

Employees have been reminded of the appropriate use of email as a result of an unfortunate email exchange last week…”

Why should these two women be sacked over their silly private email yet the bloke who posts the really snide observation survives?

Fresh from its James Hardie triumphs that’s what Allens must mean by acting “appropriately”.

How does it fit with Allens’ self-basting bumf about being cited as an “employer of choice for women”.

Also, you’ve got to love this bit of fluff from Allens’ “values” policy:

“We respect each other, we consider others and respect people’s individuality and their contribution. It’s important to us that individual staff members feel free to be who they are and that they feel safe and valued.”

For those who can bear it, here’s the exchange, with the gross bits expunged.

From: Nugent, Katrina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 9:39 AM
To: sydflr19A – Senior Associates; sydflr19L – Lawyers; sydflr19S – Support Staff
Subject: My lunch…

Yesterday I put my lunch in the fridge on Level 19 which included a packet of ham, some cheese slices and two slices of bread which was going to be for my lunch today.

Over night it has gone missing and as I have no spare money to buy another lunch today, I would appreciate being reimbursed for it.

Katrina Nugent

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 9:55 AM
To: sydflr19A – Senior Associates; sydflr19L – Lawyers; sydflr19S – Support Staff
Subject: RE: My lunch…

Katrina

There are items fitting your exact description in the level 20 fridge. Are you sure you didn’t place your lunch in the wrong fridge yesterday?

Regards
Melinda

From: Nugent, Katrina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:06 AM
To: Bird, Melinda
Subject:

Melinda

Probably best you don’t reply to all next time, would be annoyed [sic] to the lawyers.

The kitchen was not doing dinner last night, so obviously someone has helped themselves to my lunch.

Really sweet of you to investigate for me!

Katrina Nugent

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:14 AM
To: Nugent, Katrina
Subject: RE:

Katrina

Since I used to be a float and am still on the level 19 email list I couldn’t help but receive your ridiculous email – lucky me!

You use our kitchen all the time for some unknown reason and I saw the items you mentioned in the fridge so naturally thought you may have placed them in the wrong fridge.

Thanks I know I’m sweet and I only had your best interests at heart. Now as you would say, “BYE”!

Regards
Melinda

From: Nugent, Katrina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:15 AM
To: Bird, Melinda
Subject: RE:

I’m not blonde!!!

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:16 AM
To: Nugent, Katrina
Subject: RE:

Being a brunette doesn’t mean you’re smart though!

From: Nugent, Katrina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:17 AM
To: Bird, Melinda
Subject: RE:

I definitely wouldn’t trade places with you for “the world”!

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:19 AM
To: Nugent, Katrina
Subject: RE:

I wouldn’t trade places with you for the world…I don’t want your figure!

From: Nugent, Katrina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:21 AM
To: Bird, Melinda
Subject: RE:

Let’s not get person [sic] “Miss Can’t Keep A Boyfriend”.

I am in a happy relationship, have a beautiful apartment, brand new car, high pay job…say no more!!

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:23 AM
To: Nugent, Katrina
Subject: RE:

Oh my God I’m laughing! happy relationship … – yep really happy relationship with …, beautiful apartment (so what), brand new car (me too), high pay job (I earn more)...say plenty more… I have 5 guys at the moment! haha.

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:24 AM
To: Pawlukowski, Dorothy
Subject: FW:

From: Bird, Melinda
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:24 AM
To: Watson, Amanda; Snowdon, Georgina
Subject: FW:

From: Pawlukowski, Dorothy
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:27 AM
To: Cresswell, Michael; Thompson, James; Levitt, Jeremy; Bechler, Matti; Tehrani, Ash; Burrell, James
Subject: FW:

ok this is the last one, it’s getting too intense

Regards,

Dot Pawlukowski
Mergers & Acquisitions

From: Levitt, Jeremy
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:29 AM
To: Pawlukowski, Dorothy; Cresswell, Michael; Thompson, James; Bechler, Matti; Tehrani, Ash; Burrell, James
Subject: RE:

apparently (on good information) ...

[This is the personally intrusive bit of tittle-tattle that Justinian is reluctant to republish. Call us old fashioned – but that’s it.]