Court reserves judgement in Cork financial director's bid for injunction against dismissal

Court reserves judgement in Cork financial director's bid for injunction against dismissal

By Ann O'Loughlin

The High Court will rule at a later date on an application by a finance director with pharmaceutical company Merck for an injunction preventing her employer from dismissing her.

Barbara Whooley seeks various orders against her employer Merck Millipore Ltd of Tullagreen, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork whose German parent is Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany.

The 52-year-old has asked the High Court for injunctions preventing the defendants from dismissing her or interfering with her salary or benefits, and if necessary and an injunction compelling her employer to pay her a severance package.

She also seeks an order restraining the German parent company from unlawfully interfering with the contractual relationship between her and Merck Millipore.

Today her lawyers applied to the High Court for injunctions to be put in place until her case against the two company's has been concluded.

The defendants have opposed the application, and deny any wrongdoing.

They claim the employment of Mrs Whooley of Lindville, Blackrock Road, with the company has been lawfully terminated after it gave her three months notice on October 18th last, and has offered to pay her €100,000.

The court previously heard that she had worked for the company in Cork for 25 years, including spending the last four years on secondment to the German parent.

She had recently returned to work in Ireland, as she did not wish to continue the secondment.

She had hoped to return to a similar position she had previously held in Cork.

Following her return to Cork she claims she was informed by her employers that she had been deemed to have resigned.

Represented by Marguerite Bolger SC and Tom Mallon Bl, she claims that as no suitable job in Cork was available she is entitled to an appropriate redundancy package.

She rejects claims she resigned and fears the defendant's actions will damage her reputation.

In her proceedings, she seeks damages and various orders against the defendants including a declaration that she did not resign from her employment with the Irish based company, and that she remains an employee of Merck Millipore.

Marcus Dowling Bl for the defendants said it was accepted that Mrs Whooley had not resigned.

However, his clients had lawfully terminated her employment and had offered to pay her €100,000.

Counsel said she had been offered a job within the group, but following months of discussions had turned that position down.

There was no post available in Cork, and her employment had been terminated, counsel said adding that she was now seeking a redundancy package which she is not contractually entitled to.

Following the conclusion of submissions from both parties Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington said she was reserving her decision and would give a ruling as soon as possible.

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