Man fired over alleged inappropriate remark was reinstated and fired again, court told

Court being asked to extend temporary injunction until full hearing has been heard

Philippe Grenet (56) has brought proceedings in the High Court against Electronic Arts Ireland Ltd, the Irish subsidiary of video game giant, Electronic Arts, over his dismissal as director of global delivery service for the Galway-based subsidiary.

Philippe Grenet (56) has brought proceedings in the High Court against Electronic Arts Ireland Ltd, the Irish subsidiary of video game giant, Electronic Arts, over his dismissal as director of global delivery service for the Galway-based subsidiary.

 

A man who was dismissed by his employer over allegedly making an inappropriate remark to a female colleague was reinstated and fired again for no reason, the High Court has been told.

Philippe Grenet (56) has brought proceedings against Electronic Arts Ireland Ltd, the Irish subsidiary of video game giant, Electronic Arts, over his dismissal as director of global delivery service for the Galway based subsidiary.

He wants the court to continue a temporary injunction, granted earlier this month on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis, until the full hearing of his claim has been determined.

The company denies any wrongdoing and opposes the application to continue the injunction.

Dismissed

It argues it is entitled under the terms of Mr Grenet’s contract of employment to dismiss him from his post.

The injunction application opened before Mr Jsutice Tony O’Connor on Tuesday and is expected to conclude on Wednesday after the judge hears arguments on behalf of the company.

In arguments for Mr Grenet on Tuesday, Oisin Quinn SC said his client was initially dismissed from his position in November for alleged misconduct arising out of an allegation he made an inappropriate remark during a one to one video call with a colleague based in Austin, Texas.

Counsel said Mr Grenet denies he told Tracy Simmons, he was not “going to pull my dick out and put it on the table to see who has the bigger dick”.

Mr Grenet says what he actually said was: “I don’t want to compare the length of my dick”.

He accepts the remark was a clumsy, inelegant and ill-advised expression but says it means he “did not want to challenge” the particular person on a work matter.

Counsel said that on December 10th last, after Mr Grenet got the temporary injunction, he was informed by letter the company was withdrawing the decision to terminate his employment.

However, the letter also said the company was terminating his employment and gave him one month’s notice which he did not have to see out.

No reason was given by the employer for the so-called second decision to terminate his client’s employment, Mr Quinn said.

Termination

The second termination is a “sham” and was “contrived” and clearly related to the earlier decision to dismiss him arising out of Ms Simmons’ complaint, counsel said.

Counsel also argued the second decision was technically flawed because the person who purportedly made the decision, John Pompei, is not an employee or an officer of the Irish company that employed Mr Grenet and is rather a senior employee of EA Ireland’s American parent.

The first decision was unlawful on grounds including there was no proper investigation into Ms Simmons’ complaint and fair procedures were not afforded to Mr Grenet before the dismissal decision was taken, counsel said.

Mr Grenet also claims Ms Simmons is actuated by malice and she had not been successful after expressing an interest in the role he was appointed to. He claims that, a month before the complaint was made by Ms Simmons, she had been described by Mr Pompei in emails to Mr Grenet as a person who had “told lies.”

Mr Grenet moved to take up the Galway job from France in July with his family and the court has been told he was in charge of 420 EA staff in Galway and another 80 in Texas.