Executive challenges phone firm suspension

Thu, Oct 4, 2012, 01:00

A SENIOR vice-president of a mobile phone technology firm, who denies complaints she was rude and unprofessional to two customers, is seeking a High Court injunction aimed at stopping an inquiry by her employer which she contends is potentially biased.

Kathryn Smith, operations vice-president of Adaptive Mobile Security Limited, wants orders from the High Court restraining the company removing her from her post and requiring it to allow her perform her duties without interference. She also wants orders restraining Adaptive and its chief executive Brian Collins carrying out an investigation into her conduct.

The injunctions, if granted, will continue pending the full hearing of her action against Adaptive, a Dublin-based company.

The company, represented by Martin Hayden, has opposed her application. It argues it was entitled to suspend Ms Smith and claims she is seeking to prevent a fact-finding investigation arising out of complaints from two US based “marquee customers”. The company claims her suspension is not a disciplinary measure imposed as the result of an alleged wrong doing but rather a temporary measure while enquiries are carried out.

Oisín Quinn, for Ms Smith, said she was suspended on July 26th last and told by Mr Collins he would conduct an inquiry into complaints she was rude and displayed an unprofessional attitude while dealing with two customers.

Mr Quinn said Ms Smith says the alleged complaints against her are “without foundation”.

Counsel said the company became involved in work with the state mobile phone company in Iran and when it was found its technology was being used to track dissidents, Mr Collins had claimed the Iran link had not been his decision and he “had passed it off on Ms Smith”. She had questioned him about business matters and he had taken grave exception to this, Mr Quinn said. He had told her there had been complaints from customers she had been rude, aggressive and unprofessional.

In reply the company rejects all of Ms Smith’s claims. In an affidavit, Mr Collins rejects claims he solicited complaints against her or that he “engineered” a disciplinary issue. The complaints were made by two significant customers of the company, T Mobile and Syniverse and merited an immediate investigation, he said.

The case before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy continues.