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Whistleblowing Women

Australian women who blow the whistle on corruption in their workplaces.

Kirsty Fletcher : a whistleblowing woman in Airservices Australia

Airservices Australia (ASA) is a government agency and the sole employer of air traffic controllers in this country.

Once they sack you, there is nowhere else to go.

Kirsty Fletcher is a third-generation air traffic controller.

She is also married to an air traffic controller.

After what Ms Fletcher alleges were years of workplace bullying, abuse and discrimination, she made a formal complaint.

But a female manager seems to have claimed that Ms Fletcher had withdrawn her complaint.

"When we got the results of the investigation, I discovered that the female manager, who my instincts told me was a really nice person, had made a false report," Ms Fletcher said.

Ms Fletcher lodged a sex discrimination lawsuit in the Federal Court.

Ms Fletcher was then sacked by ASA.

"I loved what I did, it becomes your whole life, it becomes your identity," Ms Fletcher said.

"I'm grieving because I have lost part of my identity.

"It sounds so stupid to grieve over a job, but it was part of my history and what made my father proud.

"Additionally, what I have lost is everything I believed in, in regards to morals and ethics and the way people would act.

"I struggle with that still."

Ms Fletcher has vowed not to accept a settlement that may impose a confidentiality clause.

"They had taken so much away from me, I just felt my integrity was not for sale and they weren't going to get that," she said.

She worries the legal fight could bankrupt her family, but the mother of two young daughters said she was standing up on principle.

"I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do this," Ms Fletcher said.

Ms Fletcher's lawyer, Josh Bornstein, a principal at Maurice Blackburn, said this case was not just about an aberrant individual, but about an unhealthy workplace culture.

ASA spokesman Matt Wardell said ASA did not agree that any sex discrimination problem was widespread.

He said the individual allegedly responsible for bullying had left the company, but he could not say why.

They won't control me again, Robyn Riley, Sunday Herald Sun, 21 August 2011