Sunday 19 November 2017

Solicitor who sacked his sister when business bad agrees to pay her €20k

Deirdre Taaffe was unfairly sacked from her job
Deirdre Taaffe was unfairly sacked from her job

Dublin solicitor Donal Taaffe, who conceded in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that he had unfairly sacked his sister from his legal practice, has settled her claim against him.

Barrister Mary Paula Guinness told the court that two years ago the Employment Appeals Tribunal had awarded Deirdre Taaffe, of Millers Wood, Bray, Co Wicklow, just under €25,000 in compensation, which her brother had appealed.

Ms Guinness, who appeared with solicitor Rory McGarry for Ms Taaffe, said Mr Taaffe had conceded at the EAT that he had unfairly dismissed his sister but was appealing the award on the basis that she had allegedly contributed to her dismissal.

Andrew Whelan, for Mr Taaffe, told Judge Alison Lindsay that the unfairness of Ms Taaffe's dismissal was not being challenged, only the award of €24,736.


Mr Taaffe, of Donal Taaffe & Co, Smithfield Village, Dublin, told the court that in 2008 his company had experienced a massive downturn in business which coincided with his losing a lot of money in investments.

He had warned staff that redundancies were inevitable and asked his older sister to give him a hand when it suited her, paying her out of his own pocket. She had gone on the books in the spring of 2009.

Mr Taaffe said holiday entitlement in the office had gone out of kilter through his own fault. A dispute over holidays had led to him dismissing his sister at the end of 2011.

He told Mr Whelan that it was an extremely upsetting time, and he had suspended her for a month, writing to her in October 2011 dismissing her.

"I told her she was my sister and I loved her and that in time we might realise a parting of the ways was the best way to go," he said.

He said he was not disputing the fact that fair procedures had not been followed.

When Judge Lindsay asked if any settlement talks had been explored, Ms Guinness said no one would be in court unless they had to. Both parties accepted the court's offer of a brief adjournment.

Shortly afterwards, Ms Guinness said the parties had reached agreement.

Mr Taaffe agreed to the court granting a decree for €20,000 in favour of his sister, with payment "on agreed terms".

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