'Sneering Quinn bosses spoke to me like a dog'
A FORMER employee of Quinn Insurance Limited has alleged that she was spoken to like "a dog" at the company.
Olivia Barry (36) from Navan, Co Meath has claimed that she was sneered at until the point where she left pushed out of the company.
She has taken a case for constructive dismissal against the insurance firm -- now known as Liberty Insurance -- after a deal was struck to purchase the company founded by bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn.
At a sitting of the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Trim, Ms Barry said that she has made complaints to Quinn about her treatment by a colleague on the commercial claims team.
However, she claimed that these concerns were not taken seriously and as a result of the ongoing campaign against her she suffered panic attacks and became sick in the mornings.
The tribunal heard that Ms Barry began working as a claims co-ordinator for the cbusiness in March 2008 in its office in Kells, Co Meath.
"The job I had in Quinn I did like. I feel I was pushed out of my job," she said, adding it was unlike anything she had experienced in another office. "The first time I complained something should have been done."
Ms Barry said she could potentially have made a complaint every single week and it was "an absolute disaster".
During her evidence, Ms Barry said the regional claims controller on her team, Ken O'Connell, was "very unapproachable" and constantly found fault with her work. "He spoke down to me like I was a dog," she said.
After raising the issue with human resources personnel, Ms Barry said she broke down and cried about it.
She requested a move from her seat but this did not take place. She said she felt like she was being interrogated when her six-month probationary review arose and that her claims manager, Padraig Carroll, told her to "buck up" and that her job was on the line.
Ms Barry, who fought back tears during her evidence, said she had taken days off sick as she could not bear to work.
She alleged she was treated differently to other team members in terms of requests for annual leave and CCTV footage she was supposed to review went missing a number of times. She also claimed Mr O'Connell had sneered and laughed at her appearance with another worker.
A solicitor for Quinn, now Liberty Insurance, sought dates and times of the claims. Ms Barry did not have them.
In March 2009 she was moved into a private motor claims team and just a few weeks later she was moved without training to a new team set up to improve procedures.
She was only working in it a couple of days when she left in April on sick leave. An occupational therapist recommended she was not fit to return to work for a further eight to 10 weeks. She resigned in February 2010.
Ms Barry told how she had not worked since and had planned to emigrate to Canada before discovering she was outside the age limit for the visa and had become pregnant.
Mr Ryan adjourned the case until April 17