David Jones employee Kristy Fraser-Kirk has accepted a settlement offer of $850,000 from David Jones, bringing to an end the $37 million sexual harassment suit which claimed the scalp of one of Australia's most prominent CEOs.
After months of high-profile debate and drama, Fraser-Kirk and former David Jones CEO Mark McInnes today (18 October) released statements confirming settlement had been reached.
"This has been a difficult journey but one that I felt was important. The case has lead (sic) to real debate taking place which I am confident will lead to change," said Fraser-Kirk in a prepared statement.
"That is part of what the punitive damages claim was intended to achieve, and it has."
Fraser-Kirk had previously told the public she intended to donate any punitive damages she received through the Federal Court to charity, though it seems she has decided to keep the entirety of the settlement money to herself.
"I had asked the Court to award punitive damages, which was to go to charity, but as the Court will no longer be determining the case that's no longer possible," she said.
McInnes, who was the primary target of numerous sexual harassment allegations made by Fraser-Kirk and who resigned prior to the instigation of court proceedings, said he welcomed the settlement.
"It brings to an end a difficult time in many peoples' lives and hopefully it marks the moment that everyone can begin focusing on the future," he said in a prepared statement.
McInnes also made a last-ditch effort to salvage his reputation and continued to deny many of Fraser-Kirk's claims.
"I have repeatedly said that the vast majority of the allegations are simply untrue and the nature of the court proceedings was an abuse of legal process," he said.
"Personally, I am looking forward to a new chapter in my family life and a resumption of my career in 2011."
The sum accepted by Fraser-Kirk is the same figure she turned down prior to initiating the suit, and is inclusive of all legal fees and expenses.
Fraser-Kirk's claim centred around allegations that she was sexually harassed by McInnes on several occasions, and that the David Jones board knew of his behaviour but failed to do anything about it.