Manager at Cork bank begins action aimed at preventing termination of her employment

Manager at Cork bank begins action aimed at preventing termination of her employment
File and unrelated image of manager at work

A manager with KBC bank has launched a High Court action challenging what she claims is a "contrived redundancy" being forced on her by the bank.

The action against KBC Bank Ireland Plc has been brought by Roisin Healy, who since 2015 has been employed as the Retail Hub Manager, at the bank's Wilton branch, in Cork.

Her role was to manage that branch, its employees and seek new business.

At the High Court, her counsel Eoin Clifford SC said that last month she was informed she was to be made redundant.

Counsel said KBC had "contrived a redundancy situation which needed the intervention of the court" to prevent Ms Healy from being removed from her post.

His client had been in a mediation with KBC arising out of what he said was a totally flawed disciplinary process, conducted in "violation of fair procedures" by the bank.

Counsel said the mediation, conducted by an independent third party, commenced in late September. It was due to recommence on October 14 last.

Counsel said on the morning of October 14th she was informed that she was to be made redundant as KBC intended to carry out a serious reorganisation of its organisation.

In 2017, Counsel said his client was allegedly subjected to complaints of bullying from a co-worker.

She denied the claims and engaged with KBC's internal investigation into the allegations.

Arising out of that process, following a successful appeal by Ms Healy and a rehearing, KBC made a finding against his client and imposed sanctions including that she should be moved to another branch, and receive a verbal warning.

The matter went to the Workplace Relations Commission,(WRC) which in 2018 made a recommendation including that there was a shortfall in how the complaints were investigated.

The WRC recommendation also stated that KBC had made a cardinal error in seeking to remove Ms Healy from her manager's position.

The disciplinary process was so flawed and void of fair procedures that it was not necessary to go further in the matter, and the sanctions be removed.

Ms Healy went out on sick leave since November 2017, due to stress from the 65k a year post, but says she told the bank last March that she is ready to return.

As a result of the purported redundancy, she seeks various orders from the High Court including injunctions restraining KBC from terminating her contract of employment or from treating her as being anything other than employed with the bank.

On Thursday Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, on an ex-parte basis, granted Ms Healy's lawyers permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on KBC.

The Judge also said the parties should seek to recommence the mediation process.

The matter will return before the High Court next week.

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