Company director fired over ‘dick’ comment to female colleague seeks injunction
Jean Philippe Grenet (56) claims he was not afforded fair procedures before dismissal
Jean Philippe Grenet claims the person who made the complaint about him at work Tracy Simmons, is actuated by malice, the High Court heard.
A senior director with a video game firm was purportedly fired over allegedly telling a female colleague he was not “going to pull my dick out and put it on the table” next to another female colleague “to see who has the bigger dick”.
Jean Philippe Grenet (56), who earns €160,000 a year as senior director of Global Delivery Service for Electronic Arts Ireland, denies making the comment in a one-to-one video conversation with a female colleague based in Austin, Texas, on November 9th.
In a sworn statement, he said what he actually said in the conversation was “I don’t want to compare the length of my dick” with the colleague.
The court heard he accepts the remark was clumsy, inelegant and ill-advised but says it means he “did not want to challenge” that particular person on a work matter.
He also claims the person who made the complaint, Tracy Simmons, is actuated by malice.
He claims she had not been successful when applying after expressing an interest in the role to which he was appointed.
He further claims she exhibited a negative attitude towards him, frequently undermined his authority as her manager, and had interpersonal difficulties with other EA employees.
As a result of Ms Simmons complaint, he was dismissed from his position.
He claims that decision was flawed, was in breach of fair procedures and without any proper investigative or disciplinary processes.
At the High Court, Mr Grenet’s lawyers secured a temporary injunction restraining his employer, based in Galway City, from dismissing him or appointing anyone else to his role with the company.
The injunction, granted by Mr Justice Senan Allen on an ex-parte basis, was made returnable to next week.
Seeking the order, Oisín Quinn SC, with Ray Ryan BL, instructed by MacSweeney & Co Solicitors said no proper or valid investigation of the claims against his client, for whom English is not his first language, has taken place.
Counsel said the allegations have been “twisted out of context” by someone who “wants to get rid” of his client. The accounts of what was said at the meeting were different, although his client has admitted using the word “dick” in the conversation, he said.
A few days after the complaint was made, Mr Grenet attended a brief meeting and was suspended from his role. At a further meeting on November 14th, he was informed his employment had been terminated for gross misconduct and that he had breached EA’s Harassment and Equality Policy.
Counsel said Mr Grenet was not afforded fair procedures, and the process was run in a “shambolic” and utterly prejudicial manner.
EA contends that he has admitted wrongdoing and it is entitled to terminate his employment, counsel said. He said EA has also denied any flaws in the disciplinary process.
His client is a married man with a young son who moved to Galway from France earlier this year, counsel said. He was in charge of 420 people working for EA in Galway, and 80 people in Texas.
His client fears the impact the allegations and his purported dismissal will have on his reputation and his future. He has a long career in the industry and has always conducted himself in a proper and honest manner.