Sacked executive sues YouFoodz for $700k


Queensland ready-meal company YouFoodz has been slapped with a $700,000 lawsuit by its former chief financial officer, who claims the company has neglected, failed or refused to pay her the severance payout in her contract.

Jennifer Dowery, from South Brisbane, has sued the stockmarket-listed Brisbane-based company in the District Court alleging that chief executive Lance Giles sacked her on October 30 last year at the company's Virginia factory, in Brisbane's northern suburbs.

Youfoodz CEO Lance Giles.
Youfoodz CEO Lance Giles.

Ms Dowery, who says she was earning a $175,000 annual salary, claims that she accepted the termination of her job in writing ten days later, but that the company's "chief people officer" Christina King tried to withdraw its termination.

Ms Dowery claims that two days' before Christmas she gave further notice under a clause of her contract that she was terminating her employment contract with YouFoodz.

She had been employed at the company since April 2017, her claim states.


Former YouFoodz inancial planning and analysis manager Jennifer Dowery.
Former YouFoodz inancial planning and analysis manager Jennifer Dowery.

She alleges in her claim that she has demanded payment of her $700,000 "severance" sum under her contract but that YouFoodz has "wrongfully neglected, failed or refused to pay the debt".

Her most recent job title was financial planning and analysis manager, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She had been in that role since August 2019, after more than two years as chief financial officer.

Prior to working at YouFoodz she was a director of Footprint Business Solutions and ran business JRD Bookkeeping for 12 years, her LinkedIn profile states.

Youfoodz floated on the stockmarket late last year and has a market cap of $125m but

its share price is still down 38 per cent from its December IPO price of $1.50.

The company started in 2012 and grew fast off the back of advertising with Channel 9's popular home renovation show The Block.

It has three production facilities in Brisbane which can produce more than 350,000 ready-made meals a week, and has about 460 staff.

Youfoodz has not filed a defence to the claim. No date has been set for hearing.

The Courier-Mail has contacted Ms Dowery's solicitor, Mr Giles and Ms King for comment.


Originally published as Sacked executive sues YouFoodz for $700k