Manager of IT office uses whistleblower legislation in case

Whistleblower legislation was used by the manager of an IT office to restrain her employers from dismissing her or stopping her pay, following her disclosures to the Texas head office about health and safety concerns.
Manager of IT office uses whistleblower legislation in case

Catherine Kelly brought the interim injunction application through senior counsel Ercus Stewart against AlienVault Ireland Ltd and AlienVault Inc, an IT security company.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin heard submissions from Mr Stewart, counsel for Ms Kelly, and from Mary Paul Guinness on behalf of the respondent company.

The judge granted Ms Kelly injunctive relief under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. The terms of that relief restrain AlienVault from dismissing Ms Kelly or stopping her pay, pending a full determination of the case. Mr Stewart said Ms Kelly, as manager of the Cork office since exactly one year ago yesterday, raised a number of health and safety concerns about alleged likely dangers caused by use of the offices at Sidney Place, Wellington Road, Cork.

“On September 29 she was dismissed over the phone. She worked out of the premises at Sidney Place and there were health and safety problems that she and others had. She was told over the phone, ‘this is your last day at work, you are to leave and not come back’,” Mr Stewart said. He said the respondent company did not file an affidavit from one of the managers in Texas and did not have a manager in Cork Circuit Court yesterday.

The health and safety issues raised by Ms Kelly included complaints of sewage leaks and complaints about people being locked in toilets for three hours at the premises in Cork where 40 people work and what were described as “a catalogue of health and safety disasters”.

Ms Kelly said she was told when she brought a report to the attention of American management she was being snarky and they could not understand her “enthusiasm about facilities”.

Ms Guinness said: “The decision to terminate her employment was made a few days before she made the protected disclosure, before she approved the email (where health issues were raised). The decision to terminate was made in advance of her approving that report.”

Granting the interim injunction, Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “She has made out a stateable case that she was dismissed because of protected disclosure.”

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