The Victorian Auditor-General’s office has settled a case brought by a former director who alleged the Auditor-General bullied her, worked her to breaking point and terminated her employment unlawfully at the height of the pandemic.
Victoria’s Auditor-General Andrew Greaves was accused by former director Kyley Daykin of bullying her and unlawfully taking adverse action against her after she had a breakdown. It left her devastated after 25 years in the public service, she previously told The Age.
Kyley Daykin was a public service executive working with the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.Credit:Justin McManus
Greaves is one of Victoria’s most senior public servants and is responsible for ensuring financial prudence and integrity in the public service. Appointed in 2016, Greaves was named personally in the lawsuit, alongside the state of Victoria as a co-defendant.
In an internal message published on June 20 and seen by The Age, Deputy Auditor General David Barry told VAGO staff the matter was finalised and that Ms Daykin had left the organisation.
“I would like to acknowledge Kyley’s work over the past 10 years and we wish her every success in her future endeavours,” the statement said.
A week after Barry told staff the case was resolved, Greaves was announced as a participant in a seminar hosted by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, the state’s corruption watchdog, entitled ‘Maintaining a culture of integrity under pressure’.
The webinar, hosted by IBAC chief executive Marlo Baragwanath, will feature a short presentation and Q&A with Greaves and two other public servants, and says it will assist participants to “recognise the tools and frameworks needed to prepare for and manage high pressure or crisis situations”. IBAC declined to comment.
The terms of Daykin’s settlement are confidential. VAGO acting executive officer Lucy Smith refused to respond to specific questions posed by The Age, saying that commenting on individual employment information “would be highly inappropriate”.
Plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn also declined to comment on the resolution on behalf of Daykin.
The Age reported in March that Daykin, a former director at VAGO, was granted two days of leave per week in April 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to care for her two daughters with special needs. She claimed her workload was not adjusted and was even increased to assist subordinates also struggling with the impact of the pandemic, documents filed in the Federal Court said.
‘I had no history of mental illness before this and now I’ve had two admissions to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.’
When she asked Greaves at the height of the pandemic to delay health audits to be completed by her team due to the workload, he spoke to her in “aggressive and disparaging language” and froze her out, court documents alleged.
“He repeatedly cut her off and did not allow her to talk or explain the proposal,” the documents say. “On and from January 2021, [Greaves] refused to engage with or acknowledge Daykin in the course of her work at all.”
Victorian Auditor-General Andrew Greaves was appointed in 2016.Credit:Victoria Auditor-General’s Office
In April 2021, Daykin lodged a worker’s injury claim with the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, saying she was suffering from suicidal ideation, stress, anxiety and low self-esteem, and was constantly crying and unable to sleep as a result of being overworked, court documents say. Her claim was accepted in May.
In June, Greaves told Daykin he was not going to re-employ her when her contract ended in December, court documents allege. Later that month, according to the claim, Daykin experienced a severe breakdown and was admitted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and later the Melbourne Clinic for treatment of a mental health condition.
In July 2020, a performance review found she was fulfilling all her responsibilities. She previously told The Age she was devastated by what had occurred.
“I had no history of mental illness before this and now I’ve had two admissions to the Royal Melbourne Hospital,” she said.
“I’ve always been a stalwart. I’m devastated by what’s happened to me. Not having a career in the public service after 25 years is soul-destroying. I’m at a loss to comprehend it.”
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