A director of an Irish subsidiary of the video game giant Electronic Arts who was dismissed for allegedly making an inappropriate remark was reinstated and then fired again for no reason, the High Court has heard.
Philippe Grenet (56) has brought proceedings against the company over his dismissal as director of global delivery service for EA Ireland in Galway.
As part of his action, he seeks to have a temporary injunction, which he was granted earlier this month on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis, remain in place until the full hearing of his claim has been determined.
The company denies any wrongdoing and opposes the application to extend the injunction.
Mark Connaughton SC, for EA said that the company is entitled under the terms of Mr Grenet's contract of employment to dismiss him from his post.
The application opened before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor today.
Oisin Quinn SC for Mr Grenet said his client was initially dismissed from his position in November for alleged misconduct arising out of an allegation he made an inappropriate remark during a one-to-one video call with a colleague.
Counsel said Mr Grenet denies he told Austin, Texas-based staff member, Tracy Simmons, he was not "going to pull my dick out and put it on the table to see who has the bigger dick".
He says what he actually said was:
He accepts the remark was a clumsy, inelegant and ill-advised expression. But he says it means he "did not want to challenge" that particular person on a work matter.
Counsel said that on December 10 last, after his client had obtained the temporary injunction, Mr Grenet was informed in a letter that the company was withdrawing the decision to terminate his employment.
However, the letter said that the company was terminating his employment and gave him one month's notice which he did not have to see out.
Counsel said no reason was given by the employer for the so-called second decision to terminate his client's employment.
Counsel said the second termination is "a sham" was "contrived" and was clearly related to the earlier decision to dismiss him arising out of Ms Simmons' complaint.
Counsel also said the second decision was technically flawed because the person who purportedly made the decision, Mr John Pompei, is not an employee or an officer of the Irish company that employed Mr Grenet.
Mr Pompei, counsel said, is a senior employee of EA Ireland's American parent.
Counsel said the first decision was unlawful on grounds including was no proper investigation into Ms Simmons' complaint and fair procedures were not afforded to him before the dismissal decision was taken.
He also claims Ms Simmons is actuated by malice and she had not been successful after expressing an interest in the role he was appointed to.
Counsel said it is also Mr Grenet's case that a month before the complaint was made by Ms Simmons she had been described in emails to his client by Mr Pompei as a person who had "told lies."
Mr Grenet moved to take up the Galway job from France in July with his family. He says he was in charge of 420 EA staff in Galway and another 80 in Texas.