Cohen brother sues iSoft for over $1.4m

Cohen brother sues iSoft for over $1.4m

Summary: Brian Cohen, the brother of iSoft founder Gary Cohen, is suing the healthcare services company to the tune of over $1.4 million, following an alleged breach of his employment contract during his stint as the company's chief technology officer.

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Brian Cohen, the brother of iSoft founder Gary Cohen, is suing the healthcare services company to the tune of over $1.4 million, following an alleged breach of his employment contract during his stint as the company's chief technology officer.

Court documents obtained by ZDNet Australia reveal that Brian Cohen is suing iSoft's Australian and Asian unit under provisions set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (PDF). The suit sees Brian Cohen seeking $1,445,885.84 in unpaid remuneration, long-service leave, contract allowances and retention payments, as well as costs and interest.

According to court documents, Brian Cohen was employed by iSoft under a contract set out in February 2000, which specified that he was to work under a three-year contract with the healthcare-software company. In February 2006, Brian Cohen was transferred to Bangalore, India, under a secondment arrangement with iSoft Asia. The secondment was annexed into his 2000 contract, before Brian Cohen moved to Chennai, India, in 2007. A modified employment contract was signed in July 2009, in which Cohen was promised a 6 per cent pay increase year on year.

The problems began between Brian Cohen and iSoft in December 2009, when his brother, Gary Cohen, defaulted on the 6 per cent pay rise promise, while at the same time denying Brian Cohen a one-off $100,000 retention payment based on his family relationship with Gary Cohen, who was executive chairman and chief executive officer of the health-services company at the time.

Two years later, in June 2011, Brian Cohen was informed that he was to be made redundant from iSoft as its chief technology officer. According to court documents filed by Cohen's legal team, iSoft failed to:

  • Give [Brian Cohen] reasonable notice of termination or a payment in lieu thereof
  • Make any redundancy payment to [Brian Cohen] in accordance with section 119 of the Fair Work Act 2009 and/or [iSoft's] redundancy policy
  • Make a payment of accrued but untaken annual leave at a rate equivalent to a 6 per cent increase in base salary, in accordance with the agreement made on 6 July 2009 and section 90 of the Fair Work Act 2009
  • Make a payment of long-service leave to [Brian Cohen] in accordance with [iSoft's] long-service leave policy and the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW).

The case went before the NSW branch of the Federal Court this morning, where lawyers for Brian Cohen sought to suspend proceedings until they could serve the legal documentation on iSoft Asia.

This action isn't the first time that iSoft has appeared at loggerheads with a Cohen brother in the Federal Court of NSW. Gary Cohen took iSoft to court at the time when the company was set to be sold to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in June, which delayed the inevitable takeover of the company until August.

Topics: Legal, Health, IT Employment

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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