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High Court grants interlocutory injunction in wrongful dismissal proceedings

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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High Court grants an interlocutory injunction directing that the respondents must pay the salary of the plaintiff for a period of six months on the provision by him of an undertaking that he will carry out any duties in his role in proceedings brought alleging wrongful dismissal, on the grounds that: (a) the plaintiff established a strong case that the stated reason for his dismissal was his sub-standard or unsatisfactory performance during his probationary period and that there was breach of fair procedures obligation in the conduct of the relevant performance assessment that arose under the terms of his contract of employment; and (b) the balance of convenience lay in favour of making the order.

Application for an interlocutory injunction brought in proceedings in which the plaintiff alleges that he was wrongfully dismissed - mandatory injunction - the plaintiff was the Chief Financial Officer of the first defendant - the second defendant was the first defendant's parent company - the plaintiff began working for the first defendant on the 6 August 2019 - the plaintiff was on annual leave between 13 December 2019 and 6 January 2020 - on 7 January 2020 he was told that his employment with the defendant was terminated with immediate effect and that he was to receive one month’s pay in lieu of notice - a letter was sent to the plaintiff saying that his performance in the role of CFO was sub-standard and had been identified to him as such by members of the board - the letter alleged that the plaintiff provided an inflated and, hence, misleading projected sales figure at a board meeting on 2 December 2019; failed to prepare adequately for a board meeting on 19 December 2019; and failed to answer a question from the board about the company’s ‘basic cash position - the plaintiff wrote a letter saying he wished to appeal the decision as per the terms of his contract - On 14 January at 18.23, a letter was sent to the plaintiff indicating that a director would hear his appeal at 14.30 on the 17th of January - the plaintiff indicated that the date was not convenient for him and his legal team - the plaintiff received a response saying that it was noted he did not wish to proceed with his appeal and confirming the decision - whether the plaintiff established a strong case that was likely to succeed at trial - whether the balance of convenience lay in favour of granting the order - Court made modified form of a "Fennelly order", i.e. an interlocutory order directing an employer to pay an employee all salary and other benefits to which the employee is entitled under the relevant contract of employment, on the undertaking of the employee to carry out such duties under that contract as the employer may require - Court fixes period that salary must be paid as six months.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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