QLD_SM_NEWS_BLK_20JUN20(2)
QLD_SM_NEWS_BLK_20JUN20(2)

Sportswear giant allegedly owes dying mum $40k

QUEENSLAND sportswear giant BLK is under fire for allegedly refusing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in entitlements to former employees, including a Gold Coast mum battling terminal cancer.

Sandra Brant, the wife of former BLK chief executive Tyron Brant, is one of several former workers allegedly left in the lurch by the multimillion-dollar brand, which at its peak manufactured sportswear for dozens of professional sporting franchises around the world.

Mrs Brant, who left the company in April, is battling stage four bowel cancer and is allegedly owed more than $40,000 in unpaid long service and holiday pay in a dispute which has sparked investigations by Fair Work Queensland and the police.

Sandra Brant, with children Allegra and Connor, is a former employee of BLK. She is seeking more than $40,000 in unpaid entitlements. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Sandra Brant, with children Allegra and Connor, is a former employee of BLK. She is seeking more than $40,000 in unpaid entitlements. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

Started by the Brant family in 1999, BLK, originally known as KooGa, rose to prominence as the official manufacturer for teams including the Wallabies, Brisbane Lions, Queensland Reds and Gold Coast Titans.

But after rebounding from receivership three years ago, the company now finds itself in a battle with Mrs Brant and several other former employees. In a further blow, family photos and letters Mrs Brant wrote on a computer for her children to open after her death were allegedly wiped by BLK.

Police launched an investigation, but BLK representatives have refused to be interviewed by detectives.

BLK have told The Sunday Mail they are not aware of any files being deleted.

Bizarrely, Mrs Brant was threatened with police action after her repeated emails to company management went unanswered.

The latest deadline for the payment of entitlements passed this week.

Mrs Brant, who continued working for BLK through her first round of chemotherapy last year, said she was "disgusted" by her treatment.

"I was there since the very start and you really bend over backwards for the company because you believe in it and you love it, so I was just flabbergasted at how they have handled this," she said. "I'm still flabbergasted."

Gail Allison, a Gold Coast lawyer from Pathway Legal specialising in entitlement disputes, is also representing several former BLK workers and said the company's conduct was "unconscionable".

"It's just heartbreaking what this family is going through," she said.

"So it is especially disappointing that they are having to fight for their entitlements. There's lots of other employees that haven't been paid either."

It is understood BLK employees have been instructed not to communicate with former staffers.

At its peak BLK supplied clothing for some of Australia’s biggest sporting sides. Picture: Scott Fletcher
At its peak BLK supplied clothing for some of Australia’s biggest sporting sides. Picture: Scott Fletcher

In a statement issued late on Saturday, BLK said they would pay Mrs Brant her entitlements 'subject to relevant evidence coming through to us via the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations' and had been unaware of her declining health until last week.

They cited ongoing legal matters involving Mrs Brant's husband for the delay in paying entitlements.

The company said that apart from Mrs Brant's case, they were only aware of one other complaint from a former employee. They confirmed that person would receive their entitlements.

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Mrs Brant, who had no family history of the disease, called on everyone to get tested.

"They urge people between 50 and 70 to do it, but I was only 39 and with no family history when I got diagnosed," she said. "It can happen to anyone."

Mrs Brant's sister-in-law, entertainment personality Lauren Brant, has launched aGoFundMe page for the Gold Coast mum.

"She is the most selfless person I have ever met and it's disgusting the way she is being treated," she said.

 

Originally published as Sportswear giant allegedly owes dying mum $40k


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