High Court restrains Eason from removing HR manager


THE GROUP human resources manager with well-known Dublin booksellers Eason has secured an interim High Court order restraining the company from removing him from his post or appointing someone to a differently named position which he claims is essentially his.

Peter Ward, for Tony Duggan, told Ms Justice Mary Laffoy yesterday that Eason had adopted the “extraordinary” position of denying Mr Duggan was its group human resources manager, when two former managing directors of the company – Gordon Bolton and Basil McAllister – had provided affidavits saying he was.

Mr Ward said Mr Duggan (60), Foxrock Avenue, Foxrock, Co Dublin, had been with Eason since 1987 and was head of personnel before being appointed group human resources manager in 2005 by Mr Bolton. He was on a salary of some €100,000 annually, was married with financial commitments and had not planned to retire until aged 65.

Mr Duggan had had an excellent working relationship with his superiors. Problems arose after Conor Whelan was appointed managing director of Eason in September 2009, Mr Ward said.

In an e-mail of March 3rd last, solicitors for Eason had said it intended to proceed with recruiting a director of human resources and that this would not affect Mr Duggan and involved very different responsibilities, but the tasks outlined were all matters in which Mr Duggan was intimately involved, Mr Ward added.

Ms Justice Laffoy said she was satisfied to grant Mr Duggan an interim order, returnable to early next week and sought on an ex parte basis, restraining the firm from removing him from his position or appointing any person to what Eason described as a new post of “director of human resources and change management”.

She was satisfied Mr Duggan had raised a fair issue on whether Eason was purporting to breach his contract by recruiting someone else to his post.