Man with terminal cancer starts Fair Work Commission claim against fast food giant Craveable Brands
A terminally ill lawyer who claims he was fired after revealing he was dying has vowed to spend his final months fighting the company in court.
Chris Mahoney, 33, saw his world turned upside down in October when he was told he had 18 months to live after doctors diagnosed him with inoperable colon cancer, with tumors spreading to his liver and lungs.
Rather than enjoying his last months alive and ticking off his wish list, Mr Mahoney instead launched an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission against Craveable Brands, dubbed a David-Goliath battle.
He claimed that the multinational company, which runs fast food brands Porto and Red Rooster, was originally “100 percent” behind him when he informed them of his devastating diagnosis and offered to resign.
But he says the company has rejected his resignation and has come to a mutual agreement that he can work from home on an informal basis on an informal basis, a claim Craveable Brands refutes.
Mahoney said his plans to stay with Craveable Brands fell through the cracks earlier this year when he claimed his boss is “demanding” his resignation before the company cut all contact.
Chris Mahoney (pictured with his parents Colleen and Vincent) has months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer
For the employment consultant, who has been with the company for two years, it was a kick in the guts.
“I texted, I called, nobody picked up,” said Mr Mahoney A current matter.
“They were my support network for my terminal diagnosis.
“It was an entire part of my life that was snatched away in the most cruel way. I can only assume that as soon as I was no longer valuable to them, they threw me aside.
“As far as they’re concerned, I’m already dead.”
Cravaeble Brands has strenuously denied Mr Mahoney’s claims that he was fired due to his illness and says he resigned voluntarily, which he refutes.
“They lied to me. They cheated me,” Mr Mahoney told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
“They did it at a time when I was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my life and at a time when they knew I believed in them wholeheartedly.”
Chris Mahoney (pictured) takes his former employer to the Fair Work Commission
Mahoney recognizes the great battle against him and vowed that he would use his last months to fight.
But in a tragic twist, it was revealed that Mr Mahoney must stay alive to stand any chance of winning as an employment law claim will not be pursued if the applicant dies.
“I won’t give up until I die or win,” he said.
“All I know is that if I don’t survive, at least I tried.”
Mahoney briefly considered stepping back to enjoy the time he has left, but ultimately decided against sending a message to the workplaces.
“If they’re willing to treat a dying fellow the way they’ve done, what else are they willing to do,” he said.
“There have been times when I thought, you know, I can just end this and accept the breadcrumbs Craveable threw at me and I can move on with what’s left of my life.
‘But at the end of the day, it’s not about me, it’s really about messaging Australian employers should never treat me the way I’ve been treated.’
Craveable Brands (Sydney HQ pictured) refuted Mr Mahoney’s claims that he had been fired because of his diagnosis and claimed that he resigned voluntarily
Chris’ parents Colleen and Vincent Mahoney supported their son’s commitment to fight the company.
“He’s always stood up for other people,” Mrs. Mahoney said, fighting back tears.
“He is extremely ethical and we are so proud of what he does.
“It’s very difficult, but we love him with all our hearts.”
Craveable Brands issued a lengthy statement denying that Mahoney had been fired because of his diagnosis.
The company claimed to have voluntarily shut down late last year, which it confirmed in writing at the end of January.
It claimed it had made a number of attempts to resolve the dispute and was open to a settlement of the matter.
Chris Mahoney spent two years working for multinational giant Craveable Brands (website pictured)
“It was with great sadness and surprise that Craveable Brands later learned that Chris had initiated a general protection dispute with the Fair Work Commission, where the matter remains unresolved,” the statement read.
“We reject any suggestion that Chris has been fired or forced to resign, and we dispute the other claims made to the FWC.
“We know this is a difficult time for Chris and his family. That is why we have made a number of settlement proposals in recent months to resolve this dispute.
“We remain open to hear from Chris and resolve this matter in a timely manner.”
A Current Affair claimed that Mr Mahoney was willing to settle the matter if Craveable Brands made a donation to Cancer Council, which the company reportedly declined.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Craveable Brands for comment on these claims.
Chris Mahoney (pictured right with reporter Ben Fordham) has vowed to fight to the end
The full statement from Craveable Brands
As a valued and beloved member of our team at Craveable Brands, Chris Mahoney has built a good rapport with his colleagues and supervisor during his two years with the company.
We were devastated when Chris received a terminal diagnosis in October 2021, and we immediately sought care and support.
We worked flexibly with Chris to meet his medical needs and supported him through this difficult period.
On November 11, 2021, Chris verbally announced that he wanted to resign from his employment. At the time, we encouraged him to seek further advice and attend medical appointments to ensure he would not be disadvantaged in any way by compensation given his diagnosis.
Four days later, Chris verbally confirmed his resignation. On November 29, 2021, he handed in his laptop and security cards. In December 2021, he announced his resignation and said goodbye to his colleagues.
On January 28 of this year, Chris confirmed his resignation in writing, effective that same day.
It was with great sadness and surprise that Craveable Brands later learned that Chris had started a general protection dispute with the Fair Work Commission (FWC), where the matter remains unresolved.
We reject any suggestion that Chris has been fired or forced to resign, and we dispute the other claims made to the FWC.
We know this is a difficult time for Chris and his family. That is why we have made a number of settlement proposals in recent months to resolve this dispute.
We remain open to hear from Chris and resolve this matter in a timely manner.
As the case is under the framework of the FWC, we are unable to provide further information or background material on allegations made during the hearings.