Mason Hayes & Curran ordered to pay €17,150 in unfair dismissal case

Legal firm accepts dismissal of funds solicitor was procedurally unfair

Mason Hayes & Curran didn’t defend the unfair dismissal action taken by Ronan Dunne and accepted that the dismissal was procedurally unfair. Photograph: Alan Betson

Legal firm Mason Hayes & Curran has been ordered to pay €17,150 compensation to a funds solicitor it unfairly dismissed.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudicator ordered the money to be paid to Ronan Dunne after his case was upheld.

Mason Hayes & Curran didn’t defend the unfair dismissal action taken by Mr Dunne and accepted that the dismissal was procedurally unfair.

Hearing

During the hearing, the legal firm said that Mr Dunne’s relationship with some of his former colleagues had broken down and was beyond repair.

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Mr Dunne was employed with Mason Hayes & Curran from May 28th, 2018, until his dismissal on March 17th, 2020, and he was paid €4,286 net per month, specialising in funds and financial regulation.

Mason Hayes & Curran accepted that no procedure applied in Mr Dunne’s dismissal and decided not to provide any evidence to defend his complaint of unfair dismissal.

Mr Harraghy found that the reinstatement or the re-engagement of Mr Dunne was not a pragmatic option and the appropriate form of redress was compensation.

Mr Harraghy made the finding after hearing that Mason Hayes & Curran would strongly and totally object to Mr Dunne’s reinstatement.

The legal firm stated that Mr Dunne was a competent solicitor and was not untrustworthy but that its issue was that other people would find it difficult to work with Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne subsequently secured a new role in July 2020 and this was at a slightly higher salary than he was paid by Mason Hayes & Curran.

Mr Dunne submitted that there was no finding of misconduct against him at Mason Hayes & Curran and cited the positive performance reviews that were given to him.

He pointed out that equally there was no suggestion of incompetence or incapability in relation to his role with Mason Hayes & Curran.

Mr Dunne told the WRC that he received a number of negative comments and conduct from some colleagues at the end of 2018.

Investigation

He raised the matter with his manager and an investigation was undertaken but Mr Dunne was not happy with the outcome.

He also felt that the conduct continued, and he also experienced a reduction in the amount of work he was allocated.

Mr Dunne raised his concerns in relation to this and in October 2019 Mr Dunne was advised at a meeting that he should consider resigning.

On November 15th, 2019, Mr Dunne was issued with a termination letter and was advised that this was a final decision.

Mr Dunne was given two months’ notice, and this was extended by a further two months.

Mr Dunne argued that he was unfairly dismissed as no fair procedures were followed.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times