Talitha Cummins' dismissal on maternity leave raised tough memories for Tracey Spicer.

Talitha Cummins might have felt like it was her against the world when she decided to take on Channel 7 for unfair dismissal, but she has a mighty force in her corner: veteran newsreader Tracey Spicer.

Spicer walked a similar path back in 2006, when she was fired by Network Ten via email, after 14 years with the channel. She has a clear message of support for Cummins – “Talitha, the women of Australia are behind you.”

Tracey Spicer has spoken out in support for Talitha Cummins.

Cummins, a newsreader on Weekend Sunrise, was dismissed whilst on maternity leave after the birth of her first son Oliver in October of last year.

Just nine weeks after his arrival, Talitha was told that she was no longer under contract, and was offered a 5am weekday slot in place of her hugely popular weekend program.

To add insult to injury, it came around the same time that Cummins appeared on Australian Story to reveal her battle with alcoholism.

Now, it has emerged that Cummins is planning on taking Channel 7 to court accusing the network of unfair dismissal.

Talitha Cummins and her new son Oliver. (Image: Instagram)

It's a similar story for many professional women around Australia, who find themselves being demoted or dismissed whilst on maternity leave, and one that has Tracey Spicer speaking out on Cummins behalf.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Spicer has reached out to Cummins to offer her support.

Spicer said that she imagines she “must be feeling quite lost and alone, taking action against a television network while caring for her baby."

"I admire her immensely for speaking out about alcoholism. She’s a gutsy and talented woman.”

Her advice was to follow in her footsteps, and refuse to back down to any pressure from Channel 7 in her legal action.

“Stay strong, hold your course, and reach out for help when you need it," says Spicer.


"If more women take action over this kind of behaviour ... the less likely employers will be to discriminate."

Talitha Cummins was a newsreader on the Weekend Sunrise program for Channel 7.

Spicer's contract was reportedly terminated by Network Ten via email a decade ago, just weeks after she returned from maternity leave after the birth of her second child, Grace.

"Older women with children were simply not valued in this workplace. It was a narrative of, ‘But surely you want to be at home with your children!’ and ‘You’re getting a bit long in the tooth. Perhaps it’s time to go behind the scenes’," she told The Daily Telegraph.

Spicer said she had a feeling the dismissal was coming.

“My superiors tried to move me aside while I was on mat leave with my firstborn Taj, who was born prematurely,” she said.

“I threatened legal action that time, and was returned to my old job. But I knew I had a black mark against my name.”

In her battle with Network Ten back, Spicer almost escalated her case to the Federal Court, but eventually settled with Ten for a rumoured $250,000 out of court.

She went on to found a business called Outspoken Women, “to give others the skills to speak out, whether at a business conference, workplace meeting, or on air."

But it was her very public stand that proved to her just how many supporters she had - male and female - around Australia.

“Talitha, the women of Australia are behind you," says Spicer.

"And, judging by the hundreds of emails I received after I was ‘boned’ — from brothers, fathers and sons of women discriminated against in the workplace — there’s a whole lot of support from the fellas, as well.”

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