Woman awarded €7k from liquidised Limerick company

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A CAHERCONLISH woman has been awarded €7,000 after she was unfairly dismissed by a company which was seeking to cut it costs by €500,000 and ended up in liquidaton.

A CAHERCONLISH woman has been awarded €7,000 after she was unfairly dismissed by a company which was seeking to cut it costs by €500,000 and ended up in liquidaton.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal heard that Janet Lennon, of Acres West, Caherconlish, was a manager of InStore, the furniture retailer, in the City East Retail Park, and was the highest paid manager in its Limerick stores, receiving €45,000 per annum. The other manager was paid €30,000, and they took the decision to let the higher paid manager go. In 2007, after 20 years in business, their sales started to decline. A year later they let 23 employees go and cut costs by half a million euro, due to a 68% reduction in revenue. Other employees had to take a pay cut of between 10% to 30%. The employer decided to operate with just one manager for their two stores in Limerick, and as a consequence the claimant was let go.

The company had committed to opening a store in Dublin and said they offered Ms Lennon a position in the Dublin store at that time, however she said that she had a mortgage in Limerick and didn’t realise at that stage that her job was in jeopardy. It had previously been discussed with her that she would manage both stores. The company did not offer her to take a pay cut and remain on in Limerick, and they also advertised for telesales staff after they made her redundant.

A witness for the company said that telesales was a new area, and that they did not have any telesales employees at present. The tribunal found that she was unfairly selected for redundancy and was unfairly dismissed. They found that compensation was the most appropriate measure to take in this case. InStore later closed its Ellen Street store in Limerick on Christmas Eve 2011. It once had 140 staff in seven stores around Ireland, but the final two stores, in City East on Limerick’s Ballysimon Road and in Galway, closed within seven days of each other in January 2012. Its other stores were located in Cork and Waterford. Its parent company suffered losses of €1.76m up to February 2009.