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Legal firm made to pay €80,000 to former employee after losing challenge

The Employment Appeals Tribunal had previously ruled that Margaret MacEvilly had been unfairly dismissed.

Photo: File
Photo: File
Image: Shutterstock/Kekyalyaynen

A LEGAL FIRM, which had asked a judge to overturn an €80,000 compensation award to one of its former solicitors, has lost its legal challenge in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane today said that Kod/Lyons Solicitors had failed to show that former employee Margaret MacEvilly had been fairly dismissed.

MacEvilly had last February been awarded €80,000 against Kod/Lyons by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) which had found she had been unfairly dismissed when she was made redundant in 2012.

Judge Linnane had heard that MacEvilly’s former boss Aine Flynn had selected a trio of solicitors from which one would be let go and it turned out to be her.

The court had heard that another solicitor had been promoted to a position of salaried partner and given a €10,000 wage rise.

MacEvilly had claimed matters had deteriorated between her and Flynn after she had refused to work a rostered day over an August bank holiday.

She had alleged Flynn had stated her attitude was being noted and that she was “imperilling” her future.

MacEvilly had denied that her view of the selection process for redundancy consisted only of an elaborate theory of a management conspiracy against her.

Kod/Lyons had claimed that Ms MacEvilly had read a written statement to the final management meeting considering redundancy and in which she had said she was “not prepared to partake in the added humiliation of begging for my job.”

Flynn had told the court she had acquired the company of former leading criminal lawyer Terence Lyons, who died unexpectedly in 2004 and for whom she and Ms MacEvilly worked.

Following adverse national economic developments and a 40 per cent cut in legal aid payments for criminal cases, which accounted for 80 per cent of the company’s practice, she had been approached by O’Doherty Kelleher solicitors about a merger which had formally taken place in 2012.

There had been job losses and Ms MacEvilly had been included in a pool of three solicitors who had been told redundancy was going to arise because it was not commercially sustainable to continue with their then staffing levels.

The partners in the newly merged company had taken the decision to let Ms MacEvilly go.  The court had heard she had never been told she had imperilled her job future by refusing to work a rostered bank holiday day.

Today Judge Linnane, affirming the decision of the EAT, awarded MacEvilly her legal costs.

Read: Sacked receptionist awarded €8,720 following dispute over €4 overtime payment

Also: Stewardess who left Ryanair after autograph-hunting loses case

About the author:

Ray Managh and Saurya Cherfi

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