The former staffer found to have conspired with James Ashby to destroy the career of Peter Slipper is suing the former speaker and the federal government, alleging unlawful discrimination.
Karen Doane launched the claim in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on Tuesday, claiming she had been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of her sex, her race and under the disability discrimination legislation.
Ms Doane's lawyer is high-profile workplace relations lawyer Michael Harmer, who acted for Mr Ashby in his unsuccessful sexual harassment case against Mr Slipper.
Ms Doane's decision to engage Mr Harmer could be considered surprising, given Mr Harmer's conduct was roundly criticised by the judge hearing Mr Ashby's case, Justice Steven Rares.
In December 2012, Justice Rares threw out Mr Ashby's claim on the grounds it was an abuse of process. He ruled Mr Ashby, Ms Doane, Mr Harmer, and Mr Slipper's political rival, Mal Brough, engaged in a campaign to harm Mr Slipper and further their own careers.
Justice Rares was scathing of Mr Harmer's deliberate strategy to include damaging allegations regarding Mr Slipper's use of travel entitlements in the initiating court documents, which were later quietly dropped after they had been reported in the media.
"Mr Ashby acted in combination with Ms Doane and Mr Brough when commencing the proceedings in order to advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough," Justice Rares said.
In launching legal action against her former boss, Ms Doane has steered away from the explosive and publicity-seeking strategy employed by her old colleague. Ms Doane is asking the court for a declaration that there had been unlawful discrimination and that damages be awarded by way of compensation and for any breach of contract.
The matter will be heard by Judge Nicholas Manousaridis in April.
During Mr Ashby's case, Mr Slipper conceded he may have said to Mr Ashby and Ms Doane, "can I kiss you both", but said it because he was so happy with the results of a YouTube video they had produced on the use of the parliamentary mace.
The court heard Ms Doane had emailed Mr Brough extracts of Mr Slipper's diary. Text messages between Mr Ashby and Ms Doane refer to the "black mark" they felt was against them for working for Mr Slipper and to her preparing her resume and sending it to Mr Brough, presumably seeking work with the Liberal National Party in Queensland.
In another text message, Ms Doane allegedly told Mr Ashby, “I want to balance your harassment charge with one of my own. He is demeaning, aggressive and w his bcc's unprofessional at the very least (sic)".
Mr Slipper was forced to step down as speaker in October 2012 after the public airing of a sequence of lewd texts between him and Mr Ashby which referenced women's genitalia as “shell-less mussels”. In last year's federal election he ran as an independent for the seat of Fisher, which he had held for 20 years, but lost to Mr Brough.
Mr Ashby appealed to the Full Federal Court in May last year however a decision is yet to be handed down.
The story Former staffer Karen Doane sues Peter Slipper for discrimination first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.