A senior Bank of Ireland official who alleges she was marginalised and "set up to fail" by her employer has been refused a court order requiring the bank pay her salary pending the outcome of her full legal action.
Catherine Ryan, who joined Bank of Ireland as deputy head of group performance, initiated proceedings against it last month aimed at nullifying her dismissal. She also seeks various orders including for her return to employment with the bank or damages.
BOI denies her claims and argues her employment has been validly terminated.
At the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he could not order BOI to pay Ms Ryan's salary on an ongoing basis until the full hearing of the action.
The judge, noting the conflict of evidence between the parties, said he could not find Ms Ryan had made out a strong case likely to succeed.
The claims would have to be be determined by a trial judge who would have every opportunity to assess witnesses, their demeanour and the surrounding supporting facts before coming to a conclusion on the totality of evidence put before it.
While refusing the payment order sought, the judge said he would direct the dispute proceed to full hearing at the earliest possible opportunity and fixed it for hearing when the next law term opens in October.
In her proceedings, Ms Ryan claims, since she was appointed last September as deputy head of group performance at an annual salary of €177,000, her superior had redefined her role to a lower position.
Ms Ryan, a mother of two, from Dundrum, Dublin, claims she gave up employment with Ernst & Young after being given assurances about her employment by BOI. She alleges the role she was assigned to do was very different from what she was hired to do, certain tasks were assigned to her of which she has no experience and she has been isolated at work.
She also alleges she has been “set up to fail” by her superior who, she claims, was against her being hired by the bank. She was hired at a higher salary than her superior and at the same grade as him, she said.
It is claimed a six-month probation period Ms Ryan had to undergo was used as a “tool” to try to get rid of her after the bank allegedly reneged on its commitments to her.
It is claimed her superior earlier this year issued an allegedly false, malicious and defamatory recommendation regarding her continued employment. Following a review by BOI, she was informed she was being dismissed.
In denying Ms Ryan’s claims, BOI says the decision to terminate her employment was performance related. Ms Ryan did not meet an acceptable standard of performance during her probationary period to warrant her remaining in the position to which she was recruited, the bank claims. It also rejects her criticism of other officials at the bank.