Genockey v Bank of Ireland

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Robert Eagar
Judgment Date28 July 2017
Neutral Citation[2017] IEHC 498
Docket Number[2013 No. 12987 P]
CourtHigh Court
Date28 July 2017
BETWEEN
GLENDA GENOCKEY
PLAINTIFF
AND
THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF IRELAND
DEFENDANT

[2017] IEHC 498

[2013 No. 12987 P]

THE HIGH COURT

Tort – Damages – Breach of duty of care – Offer of Employment – Unconditional offer – Dismissal – Verification of qualification

Facts: The plaintiff claimed damages for breach of contract by the defendant by failing to offer the position of loans administrator despite confirming the plaintiff's selection. The plaintiff contended that the defendant's employee breached its duty of care by asking when the plaintiff could begin and represented to the plaintiff that she was receiving an unconditional offer of employment while the plaintiff received a phone call by the employee of the defendant. The plaintiff contended that based on the advice given by the defendant's employee, the plaintiff handed the notice to her current employer with a view to take up the employment with the defendant. The defendant contended that the phone call was followed by a written offer from the employer, which clearly stated that the offer was subject to verification of qualification. The defendant contended that in the application form, it was stated that any offer was subject to the successful completion of pre-hire screening checks.

Mr. Justice Robert Eagar refused to grant any damages to the plaintiff. The Court held that the plaintiff had not established that the defendant failed to exercise the duty of care while making the representation to the plaintiff to enter into the agreement. The Court found that at all stages of the hiring process it was made clear that the job offer was conditional upon the plaintiff meeting certain requirements. The Court held that the defendant made it clear that the term of any successful candidate's employment would be that they had to meet specific educational criteria and the plaintiff failed to meet those criteria, and thus, the defendant/ employer had the right to dismiss the plaintiff for that reason.

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Robert Eagar delivered on the 28th day of July, 2017
1

This case concerns a claim of misrepresentation, negligent misstatement, and breach of contract arising out of the plaintiff being offered the position of Administrator by the Defendant, its servants or agent.

Facts
2

On the 19th of July, 2013, the plaintiff emailed Ed Meagher, Senior Manager in the Loans Administration department of the defendant employer. The email sent by the plaintiff asked if Mr. Meagher would consider her C.V. for any upcoming positions. Attached to the email was her C.V., which set out amongst other things her educational history. Included in this information was the plaintiff's leaving certificate results, which stated as follows: "1992-1997 – Holy Faith, Killester – 3 (honours) 4 (passes)". In evidence, the plaintiff admitted that these results did not reflect what she had actually received in her leaving certificate. In reality, the plaintiff had received 4 passes and 3 fails in pass level subjects. She stated in evidence that she had forgotten over time what her results were, they went out of her head. She had never handed her leaving certificate results into any employer, as no previous employer had required leaving certificate results from her.

3

At the time of her emailing Mr. Meagher initially, no positions were available with the defendant employer. Mr. Meagher in email correspondence on the 15th of August, 2013, informed the plaintiff of this, but said that he would keep her C.V. on file in the event of a position opening up.

4

On the 19th of October, 2013, the plaintiff was contacted by agents of the defendant employer with a view to interviewing her for the position of Loans Administrator. She was asked to bring with her to interview the following documents – a completed and signed application form, and original proof of qualifications.

5

The plaintiff was interviewed on the 23rd of September, 2013. On this date she brought with her to the interview the relevant application form, however, she did not bring with her original proof of qualifications.

6

Several points regarding the application form completed by the plaintiff prior to interview are noted:

a. The application form states that all applicants will undergo a pre-employment screening process.

b. Additional documentation required of any successful candidate prior to commencing employment includes original documentation in relation to the required educational qualifications.

c. Moreover, the application form ends with a declaration to be signed by the candidate, which makes the following points:

'an offer of employment is subject to verification of educational qualifications, proof of identification [...]

Any deliberate misrepresentation or omission could result in the withdrawal of any offer of employment (if successful), or in dismissal should employment have commenced.'

7

The plaintiff completed her interview and on 2nd of October, 2013, she received a phone call from Lynsey King. Ms. King works for the defendant employer in their recruitment department. Ms. King in evidence stated that she informed the plaintiff of her success at interview, and that she was being offered the job.

8

A point of dispute arises as to the precise wording utilised by Ms. King in offering the job to the plaintiff. The plaintiff contends that this was an unconditional offer, and she was asked when she could begin. The plaintiff in evidence stated that she was under the impression that the defendant employer wanted her to start as soon as possible. Ms. King stated that she does not specifically remember the conversation with the plaintiff on the phone. However, it is standard practice for her in making such phone calls to offer the job to the candidate, and if the candidate accepts the offer, she would inform the candidate that any offer from the defendant employer is subject to successful completion of pre-hire screening checks. This would include confirmation of documents and C.V.'s, which the plaintiff had not provided as of yet to the defendant, despite being asked to do so previously.

9

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1 firm's commentaries
  • Withdrawing An Offer Of Employment Part 3
    • Ireland
    • Mondaq Ireland
    • 23 January 2018
    ...that highlights the importance of making an offer subject to pre-conditions. Genockey v The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland [2017] IEHC 498 In the recent High Court decision of Genockey v The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland [2017] IEHC 498, a successful applicant's o......

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