A Norton Rose Fulbright partner has argued it was "standard practice" for him to destroy meeting notes that he took during an internal investigation into bullying at the firm.
A former employee Suet Ying Edgar has brought a claim against the firm for workplace bullying. The firm says that it dismissed Edgar due to a loss of trust and confidence in her.
David Cross, an employment partner in the firm's Sydney office admitted that he had destroyed meeting notes that he had made during the firm's internal investigation into the alleged bullying. He told a federal court judge that destroying notes was "standard practice", and he had also done this in other investigations.
"In the interviews, I take notes of the information that comes forward," said Cross according to a report in Lawyerly. "I am preparing the report as I go...so it’s a kind of living document that I build." Cross said that his practice is to "build detailed reports" and then destroy "those handwritten notes of mine". He described the final report as "the vessel of all my information and conclusions” and said that it contained all relevant information in the case.
RollOnFriday asked the firm if it was standard practice for anyone else at the firm to destroy meeting notes, particularly in regard to HR matters. A NRF spokeswoman said the firm couldn't comment as the matter is before the court.
It is not the first time that Cross' actions at NRF have come under scrutiny. The partner was also involved in another matter before the court, where NRF accepted that an email by Cross was "potentially misleading". The perceived deception was a factor which resulted in the Australian branch of NRF being ordered by the court to pay AUS160,000 to a former partner, Tom Martin.