Dismissal dispute between video game company and manager is resolved

Details of agreement reached not disclosed to High Court

A High Court dispute between a product support manager and a video game development company from which he claimed he was unfairly dismissed has been resolved.

Markus Nowak claimed he was given "no right to respond or to defend my position" when he was allegedly given an ultimatum last month to resign or be summarily dismissed from Blizzard Entertainment Ireland Limited on account of alleged gross misconduct.

The firm, with its registered offices at Blackpool Retail Park in Cork City, is a subsidiary of the American company Activision Blizzard Inc which made games such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush Saga.

Last week Mr Justice Senan Allen gave Mr Nowak permission to serve short notice of his motion seeking various interlocutory reliefs, including an injunction restraining the company from terminating his contract of employment.

Mr Nowak, of Kileens, Co Cork, who had worked with the company since 2008, also sought damages for alleged slander and/or harm to his reputation and for an alleged breach of contract and/or duty and his right to fair procedure.

When the case returned before the court on Friday the judge was informed by Mark Connaughton SC, for the plaintiff, that the matter had been resolved and the entire proceedings could be struck out. Rosemary Mallon BL, for the company, said her client was consenting to the strikeout.

The court did not hear details of the agreement reached.

Video call

In a sworn statement put before the court last week, Mr Nowak claimed he was informed last month in a video call with a HR manager and a legal adviser about a series of allegations made against him by more than one employee.

He denied the allegations, which included commenting on female employees’ appearances, asking female colleagues to stay on for drinks and requesting inappropriate images from female staff and/or sending them. He also denied any sexual context to conversations he had had with female employees.

He had claimed he was advised that, given there was more than one complaint, the company would not give credibility to any response from him and, therefore, there was no merit in hearing from him. He said he requested time to consider the matters during the video call but he was allegedly told he must decide during that call if he would resign.

He alleged the company breached its own terms and conditions and, in particular, has failed to comply with its own disciplinary procedure. Further, he claims the company failed to carry out any or any proper investigation.

On consent from both parties, Mr Justice Allen struck out the action making no orders as to costs.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter