Hotel manager's action over disciplinary process undertaken by employer is resolved

Hotel manager's action over disciplinary process undertaken by employer is resolved

The general manager of a Sligo hotel has resolved a High Court action against his employer over an alleged flawed internal disciplinary hearing.

Earlier this month Fergal Ryan, who is the General Manager of the Clayton Hotel in Sligo, secured a temporary injunction preventing Dalata Hotel Group Plc from proceeding with the investigation into alleged misconduct.

The matter came back to court on Friday when Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds was informed that following talks the parties had come to an agreement.

As part of the settlement, it was agreed that fresh internal disciplinary proceedings in front of a new chairperson and in to the allegations against Mr Ryan will start next month.

It was further agreed that the ex-parte injunction could be vacated, that Mr Ryan was entitled to his costs of the injunction application, and the action could be struck out.

In seeking the injunction Mr Ryan, represented by Patrick O Reilly SC had argued that the disciplinary hearing, which commenced in October, had fallen into error, and was so flawed that it was doomed.

Issues had arisen over the testimony of two employees at the hotel called as witnesses for the company in the hearing.

Those men had, the court heard, given statements where they say they were pressurised into saying something they had not.

It was claimed that despite Mr Ryan's legal terms objections the chairperson of the internal company investigation had decided to proceed with the hearing

As a result, Mr Ryan and his lawyers withdrew from the process.

Mr Ryan, who has worked in the hotel industry for 28 years and with Dalata since 2014, said that disciplinary proceedings were commenced against him earlier this year after he declined offers from his employer to leave his role.

The court heard that Mr Ryan is alleged to have paid former employees to do a days work in the hotel's restaurant when the premises was short-staffed, from petty cash. The payments, which totalled €300 were all vouched for.

He is also alleged to have paid two hotel porter staff, €70 each, to monitor entry to the hotel's lobby when there was a major security operation in Sligo. Those payments were also vouched.

It is claimed that the cash payments are in breach of company policy. It was also alleged that the two employees had been asked to work as security guards, which they were not qualified to do.

Mr Ryan said the men were asked to keep a lookout for any trouble, and if anything happened they were instructed to lock the doors and call the Gardai but were not asked by him to provide security.

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