Legal

Stuart MacGill sues Cricket Australia for $2.6 million: Businesses should be careful about how they spin a promise

Eloise Keating /

Stuart MacGill wearing the baggy green in 2008

Former Australian cricketer Stuart MacGill has launched a $2.6 million lawsuit against his former employer Cricket Australia, which he claims reneged on a deal to pay him match payments and prize money totalling more than $1.6 million.

Legal experts say the case is a reminder that businesses need to be careful about the promises they make to employees.

MacGill, who took 208 Test wickets for Australia during his cricket career, filed a writ against Cricket Australia in the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday. MacGill is represented by Julie Singleton Solicitors and has previously been reported to be dating Julie Singleton.

According to Fairfax, MacGill claims Cricket Australia did not pay him injury payments totalling $1,640,890 during a two-year period from May 2008, during which time he was unable to play Test cricket.

The figure includes $846,090 in tour payments for 15 away Test matches; $140,800 in tour payments for 11 home matches; $630,000 in retainer payments over 104 weeks; and $27,000 in prize money for nine test matches.

MacGill is also claiming $984,000 in interest, plus legal costs.

In his claim, MacGill said he entered into one-year employment contracts with Cricket Australia between 1998 and 2007. He claims Cricket Australia hired him on a 12-month contract on June 28, 2007 and had offered another 12-month contract for 2008 and 2009 before he was injured.

MacGill said Cricket Australia had previously paid him when he was unable to play Test cricket due to injury earlier in his career and in May 2008 he was advised to return home from the Australian team’s tour in the West Indies because he was injured.

MacGill said he did not receive payments under Cricket Australia’s player injury policy after this time and when he attempted to negotiate the payments with his employer, he claims Cricket Australia denied liability and refused to participate in mediation.

Cricket Australia said in a statement on Monday it is aware of MacGill’s claim.

“We are aware of the media reports but aren’t in a position to comment further,” said a Cricket Australia spokesperson.

SmartCompany contacted Stuart MacGill and Julie Singleton but did not receive a response prior to publication.

Andrew Douglas, partner at M+K Lawyers, told SmartCompany while limited information is available about the basis of MacGill’s claims, most elite sportspeople have contracts that require mediation of any dispute and allow, either in the contract or through policy, to financially accommodate a player if they are injured.

Anthony Massaro, principal at Russell Kennedy Lawyers, told SmartCompany as a general rule, employers need to be careful about all promises they make to employees about remuneration or incentives.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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