Fridge installation executive wants court to prevent layoff extension

Tom Clayton, group corporate finance executive at Novum Overseas Ltd, clams lay-off is not genuine

Four Courts, Dublin. File photograph: Bryan O'Brien

A senior executive with a firm that installs refrigeration units has brought a High Court action aimed at preventing his employer from extending his purported lay-off.

Tom Clayton, who is group corporate finance executive with Novum Overseas Limited, clams the lay-off is “not genuine” and an attempt to “exit him” from the company.

Mr Clayton, who the court heard was previously the CFO of Forfas national policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation in Ireland, began his €135,000 per-year job with the defendant last year.

He claims that several weeks ago the company, without explanation, informed him he was being temporarily laid off for a six to eight-week period. He also claims he was told by his employers to apply for Jobseekers’ Allowance.


He claims the lay-off has left him without salary, leaving him in dire financial straits, and has damaged his reputation.

He also claims that after agreeing to go to work for the company last year, his role was downgraded, in what he alleges was “a fundamental rollback” from the terms of his employment.

He sought undertakings from the company including that his purported lay-off be brought to an end, and that he be restored to his paid employment.

No such undertakings were furnished by the defendant, he claims.

He was subsequently informed in correspondence from his employer that it is considering him for redundancy.

He claims this shows the defendant has already made up its mind and wishes to end his employment by way of “a sham redundancy”.

He wants various orders from the court including an injunction retraining the defendant from extending the purported period of lay-off beyond this week.

He also seeks orders requiring the employer to pay him all of his contractual entitlements and allowing him to fulfil all his contractual duties with the defendant.

The orders, if granted, would remain in place pending the outcome of the action.

The matter came before Mr Justice David Nolan on Wednesday, who granted Mr Clayton’s lawyers permission to serve short notice of his application on the defendants.

The matter will return before the court later this month.