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NSW Labor MP Hugh McDermott denies sexual harassment allegations made by former staffer

Offshore Technology International -
A NSW Labor MP's dismissal of three employees has raised concerns about a lack of protection available to political staff under unfair dismissal laws.

NSW Labor MP Hugh McDermott has 'categorically denied' allegations he verbally and sexually abused a staff member in his western Sydney electorate office.

The Prospect MP is the subject of a complaint by former staffer Nicole Scott, The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Ms Scott, who was fired before Christmas, claims he deliberately brushed against her breast multiple times and pressed his groin against her back while seated at her desk.

She also alleged Dr McDermott answered the door at his home during a mutually agreed meeting without a shirt on and with his pants undone.

'The member had his shirt swung over his shoulder like he was on the catwalk,' her complaint to the Public Service Association of NSW reportedly reads.

Dr McDermott said he was 'deeply concerned' about the allegations which he could 'categorically deny'.

'Any allegation of harassment is a very serious matter,' he said in a Facebook post late Friday.

'At no time has any member of my staff spoken with me about such allegations, nor have they lodged a formal complaint through any of the channels available to them which would trigger a proper investigation and consideration of any such matter.'

Ms Scott's employment was terminated due to 'operational requirements', he added.

Dr McDermott on Saturday revealed he would voluntarily stand aside from his role as chair of the Wastewatch Committee until the investigation was complete.

'I welcome the opportunity to clear my name,' he said.

The Labor party said it had a 'rigorous and independent' process for assessing harassment allegations which observes the rights of all parties to a fair hearing.

'Whilst the ALP has not received a complaint in this matter and is not the relevant employer, this process will be activated to assess the information in today's media reports,' it said in a statement.

'The assessment will be made pursuant to the party's rules and code of conduct.'

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