Golfer sues club for damages after director relationship
A FORMER head golf professional at Toowoomba Golf Club is suing the club for damages over the termination of her four-year contract and for money she says she is owed.
Leah Hart had a contract to provide services as a golf pro from August 2017 to July 2021. But in November last year she lost her job when Toowoomba Golf Club terminated her contract, alleging she had failed to rectify numerous contract breaches, which she denies.
Ms Hart claims she has suffered loss and damages of at least $557,131, including lost profits and the cost of hiring additional staff.
She also is seeking payment of $28,612, which she alleges she is still owed.
Ms Hart's claim details complaints raised by the club from February last year.
She alleges after she ended a romantic relationship with then men's club captain, Ben Lusk, in September 2018, she asked the club to exclude him from decisions about her or her contracts. Mr Lusk was one of the club's directors.
The claim alleges Ms Hart made a verbal complaint about Mr Lusk's conduct to Toowoomba police, relating to matters she had allegedly learnt about during their relationship and that she set out details of the alleged conduct in an email to officers of the club in November 2018.
She claims the club board did not put in place a procedure to properly deal with her concerns relating to Mr Lusk.
She claims the board failed to reduce the likelihood of her having to deal with Mr Lusk or ensure that he would not be part of any decisions about her contract.
From February last year, Ms Hart was emailed a series of letters from the club, detailing allegations of breaches of her contract agreement. She claims they were invalid and her contract was wrongfully terminated.
Among the breaches, in one letter, it was said she had failed to act in good faith by raising "unfounded allegations" and "a threat of legal action".
Her claim says the club ranked her performance in 2018 as "consistently exceeding expectations or better", and three months before termination as "predominantly meeting expectations or better".
"It is always imperative that women stand up for their legal rights and we commend Ms Hart for the courage that she has shown so far in seeking to keep an organisation the size of the Toowoomba Golf Club accountable for their actions," her lawyer Sharne Lategan, of Enterprise Legal, said.
Toowoomba Golf Club is yet to respond to the claim and a lawyer for the club would not comment.
Originally published as Pro golfer sues club for damages 'Handicapped at work by board'