Cordon v Mentor Graphics (Ireland) Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date09 Jan 2007
Judgment citation (vLex)[2007] 1 JIEC 0901

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Cordon (claimant) v Mentor Graphics (Ireland) Ltd (respondent)

Representation:

Claimant(s):

Mr. Gearoid Howard, Crimmins & Company, Solicitors, Dolmen House, Shannon Town Centre, Co. Clare

Respondent(s):

Mr. Marcus Dowling B.L. instructed by Mason Hayes & Curran, Solicitors, 6 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2

Abstract:

Employment law - Redundancy - Unfair dismissals –EAT - Whether the claimant was dismissed by reason of a genuine redundancy or was unfairly dismissed - Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CASE NO.

UD376/2005

CLAIM(S) OF:

Niamh Cordon, C/O Crimmins & Co., Solicitors, Dolmen House, Shannon, Co. Clare

against

Mentor Graphics (Ireland) Limited, East Park, Shannon Free Zone, Shannon, Co. Clare

under

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Mr J. Fahy B.L.

Members:

Mr T. Gill

Dr. A. Clune

heard this claim at Ennis on 5th April 2006 and 15th September 2006

Facts The Vice-President for Human Resources at the respondent company gave evidence that she was responsible for the design of a job specification for a new post, which would replace the claimant's and two other employees' jobs. The claimant was not offered the new position and was made redundant. The claimant stated in evidence that she felt the new post was designed to suit one of the candidates in particular and she was denied a fair opportunity to obtain the job. The claimant commenced a Diploma course prior to the termination of her employment and she stated that the respondent had a policy of refunding course fees to successful employees. The claimant also gave evidence of financial loss arising out of the company's share option scheme.

Held by the Tribunal in dismissing the claim: That despite the fact that the interview process was not conducted in accordance with best practice, the claimant was not unfairly dismissed. However, the claimant had an expectation that the respondent would discharge her course fees and therefore those fees ought to be honoured by the respondent. Furthermore, the claimant was entitled to be reimbursed in relation to the share option scheme and all other payments relating to the exit package put forward by the respondent ought to be honoured.

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
1

At the outset of the hearing, the Tribunal confirmed that the claimant commenced employment on 24th September 2001, which terminated on 26th December 2004. The claimant's gross weekly basic pay was Eur562.59, and spot bonus payments applied.

Respondent's case.
2

The respondent company employs some four thousand (4000) employees, seventy-five to eighty of which are based in Ireland. It is engaged in a wide range of electronic design.

3

The current Vice-President for Human Resources (hereafter VPHR) gave evidence. Her duties include responsibility for the assessment of the organisation, its employees, to consider customer needs as well as to identify any gaps in the respondent's service. She confirmed that the Human

4

Resources Operations Manager (hereafter HROM) was responsible for the respondent's worldwide Information Technology systems, for salary, personnel information and for the processing and storage of all related data. She explained that the necessity for compliance with good corporate governance became an important factor for businesses in the United States of America (US) in the post-Enron environment, in particular in the aftermath of the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in that country. The respondent's global database was subject to both US and European Union rules.

5

The witness said that the respondent used SAP, a software package that allows a company to interact with a common corporate database for a comprehensive range of applications, one of which was its human resource data. One of her objectives, as the then newly appointed VPHR, was to manage the SAP system in order to evaluate its usage within the company and to see how many employees touched the system, that is, in the input of data. The witness said that one of her priorities was to reduce the risk to, and protect the data held by the respondent. In doing so, she identified the number of times that three Irish based employees, one of whom was the claimant, accessed and maintained the database. While she was the direct manager to two of those three employees, the witness confirmed that the claimant was not one of them.

6

She confirmed that the intention, in reducing the staff numbers, was to combine some functions, and to make better use of US based personnel. The witness stated that the claimant's role was generalist in nature, unlike the two other employees who were more involved in data entry. She stated that she was responsible for the design of a job specification for the new post. She informed the three affected employees that their jobs were at risk, advised them of the new job specification as well as telling them that she would interview each one of them in turn. As the competition was initially confined to internal candidates only, they were given the first opportunity to apply for the position. When questioned by the Chairman if the criteria and marking scheme were set out in advance of the interview process, the witness replied...

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