Gallery chief awarded €30,000 for unfair dismissal
A CLAIM by the former chief executive of a Dublin art gallery that her redundancy was “a sham” has been upheld by the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The tribunal awarded €30,000 to Marian Lovett for unfair dismissal from her position as chief executive of Temple Bar Gallery and Studios Ltd (TBGS). The business operates a gallery and 30 artists’ studios in Temple Bar.
In her evidence to the tribunal, Ms Lovett said she had worked for her employer since 2001, rising to the position of chief executive.
But she said that, while Arts Council funding for the business was cut from €370,000 to €240,00, she believed the termination of her employment was a “ready-up job”.
She said she believed the redundancy was contrived to award her position to a junior colleague who would accept less pay.
The Temple Bar gallery denied it had contrived a “sham redundancy” and claimed Ms Lovett’s employment had been terminated fairly.
But the tribunal noted the “obligations and duties” in the new position of “studio development officer” were “practically the same” at that of the former position as chief executive.
The tribunal said redundancy required two characteristics, impersonality and change. It said such characteristics were lacking in this case.
In a statement issued after the ruling yesterday, Ms Lovett said she was delighted with the award of €30,000. She said she felt “vindicated”. She went on to call for an investigation in to the use of public money at the gallery.
“I would hope that the Arts Council would conduct its own internal investigation of this case and the circumstances leading up to it. An objective and independent assessment of management and membership structures at TBGS should be undertaken,” she said.