Tech company ordered to pay €250,000 in unfair dismissal case

WRC found former VP ‘totally denied’ fair procedures

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has ordered that a tech company pay a former senior executive €250,000 compensation for his unfair dismissal.

WRC adjudication officer Jim O’Connell found that fair procedures were “totally denied” to the former vice president of the

Vice President (VP) of the “professional, scientific and technical” employer in his unfair dismissal.

The former VP told a WRC hearing that he had to get somebody to let him out of his former workplace on the day he was unfairly dismissed in June of last year as all the security codes were changed during the telephone call when he was fired.


The VP was employed from January 1st, 2006 until June 18th, 2018 and was on a gross salary of €150,000 per annum when his contract of employment was terminated.

The claimant was paid for his notice period to September 18th, 2018.

At the WRC, the former VP was seeking re-instatement or re-engagement with his former employer.

However, in his findings, Mr O’Connell ruled out these options as they “are unpractical and given the likely prospect of further legal proceedings would certainly not be conducive to a good working relationship.”

Mr O’Connell also found that the former VP’s ability to secure new work post the unfair dismissal “were severely restricted by a clause in his contract of employment.”

Mr O’Connell found that when the former VP asked why his position was being terminated he was denied his rights and procedures contained in his former employer’ s own handbook.

As part of his case, the former VP told the WRC that he received a phone call on the morning of June 18th last year asking him to phone into a conference call at 9.00am that morning and in doing so he was informed by the chief business officer that his contract of employment was terminated.


The former VP told the WRC that he asked several times why his contract was being terminated only to be simply told: “Your contract is terminated”.

At the WRC hearing, the employer argued that the claimant’s contract of employment was terminated in accordance with its terms and conditions.

It emerged during the case that the former VP’s business was purchased by his employer’s parent company towards the end of 2015. The employer said it had purchased the claimant’s business to integrate its software technology with hardware products. However, this integration did not prove feasible or acceptable in the marketplace and a lead customer which was designated as the target purchaser for the product, ultimately refused to acquire it.

At the one day WRC hearing last July, the employer said a radical restructuring of the business would lead to making the majority of employees redundant.

Some 15 employees were served with a notice of redundancy with a phased effect ending on September 30th, 2019.

The employer said the VP’s re-instatement would in effect mean the claimant would be overseeing his own redundancy in an operation that has ceased to trade.

Mr O'Connell said the former VP had additional incentives/benefits with the company which are the subject of a matter before the High Court.

The employer can appeal the WRC unfair dismissal finding and the €250,000 award to the Labour Court.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times