Talitha Cummins claims she was sacked on maternity leave
WEEKEND Sunrise newsreader Talitha Cummins is taking on Channel 7 for unfair dismissal, claiming she was sacked from the role while on maternity leave.
Ms Cummins claims that soon after her first child, Oliver was born, the network told her she would not be returning to the role she had held for three years after her contract expired.
It came as the 36-year-old was in the midst of promoting a hugely popular episode of ABC-TV's Australian Story, which revealed her battle with alcoholism and detailed her four year sobriety.
The Daily Telegraphreports Seven News chief Craig McPherson phoned Ms Cummins nine weeks after the birth of her son to tell her she was no longer under contract.
She had expected to return to her weekend newsreading role but was offered a weekday 5am slot instead.
An unnamed source was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying Ms Cummins was "dumbfounded by the whole thing."
"It was a complete shock and a massive slap in the face," the newspaper said.
It's a fresh controversy for Channel 7, which last month found itself embroiled in scandal surrounding its chief executive Tim Worner.
A former staffer, Amber Harrison lodged a claim with the Australian Human Rights Commission claiming she was paid off to the tune of $100,000 after an affair with Mr Worner.
She further alleged he had affairs with four other women at the station, something both he and the company denied.
Seven West Media's stocks plummeted following after the details of the claim were leaked to media.
The company stood by its CEO.
Ms Cummins won widespread praise for her Australian Story appearance, in which she sought to debunk the myths surrounding the disease.
Channel 7 gave her permission to appear in the program.
"I could hide my hangover and pretend everything was fine," she said.
"At 6.30pm when I finished work, I'd go straight to the bottle shop and buy two bottles of wine. "I'd usually go back there later and buy another bottle or two.
"I'd drink myself into oblivion, but you can only maintain that lifestyle for so long."
Four years on, she continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has been working to encourage Australians to address how much alcohol they drink.
"There is no finishing line. I haven't got to the four year mark and said 'I'm no longer an alcoholic,'" she said.
"Drinking is just one thing I can't do. I can do so many other things and life is so much simpler without it. I know who I am now, I've found myself."