A financial services company and its chairman have denied claims by the firm’s managing director that he was summarily dismissed from his job last month.
At the High Court on Friday GillenMarkets and its chairman Dermot Browne claimed the company told its managing director Rory Mason it had concerns over a €14,000 bonus which it wants independently investigated.
They claim Mr Mason was not dismissed nor suspended from his role during a meeting when the issue of the payment, which the firm claims was not authorised by the company, was raised.
Mr Mason, who claims that the bonus was approved by the company, obtained an injunction last month restraining his dismissal, which he claims was unlawful.
Represented by Oisín Quinn SC, Mr Mason wants the injunction kept in place pending the full hearing of his action against his employer and Mr Browne.
Counsel said the company’s proposal regarding the investigation was not suitable as far as his client is concerned.
The defendants’ proposal was an attempt to retrofit a premeditated decision the company has already made, namely that his client was guilty of wrongdoing and had been dismissed.
The court granted Mr Mason a temporary injunction, on an ex-parte basis, preventing the defendants from implementing or terminating Mr Mason’s purported dismissal.
The court also restrained the defendants from publicising, repeating, or communicating in any form the misconduct alleged against Mr Mason.
The defendants, represented by Mark Connaughton SC, oppose the application and have asked Ms Justice Nuala Butler to discontinue the injunction.
In a sworn statement to the court Mr Browne said Mr Mason’s employment was not terminated as alleged. He said at a meeting on April 23rd last he raised the payment, which he said was not unauthorised by the company, with Mr Mason.
He said that during that meeting he did ask Mr Mason to resign his position. However, Mr Mason was not sacked, not suspended and he disagreed with the applicant’s version of that meeting.
Mr Browne said he did not have the power as chairman to dismiss Mr Mason.
Mr Browne said that arising out of that meeting Mr Mason’s access to internal systems was restricted, but his overall access to external systems such as email and company clients remained in place.
Mr Browne added that following the meeting, Mr Mason handed back some company property, and cleared out his desk.
In his sworn statement he also rejected Mr Mason’s claims in relation to there being a poor relationship between the members of the company’s board.
Mr Browne also said that the best way forward was for an investigation into the bonus payment be conducted by an independent person.
Previously the court heard Mr Mason has worked with the wealth management and investment advice firm for several years. He is the beneficial owner of 15 per cent of the firm’s shares.
He strongly denies any wrongdoing, and claims that the “accusation of theft” is “utterly without foundation”. He claims a “contrived attempt” to remove him from his position “by whatever means necessary”.
Mr Mason claims the bonus was fully disclosed to and approved by the company’s board.
The hearing continues later this month.