Northern Ireland

Woman dismissed by FGS McClure Watters awarded £24,634

A former manager at accountancy firm FGS McClure Watters has been awarded £24,634 after a tribunal found she had been unfairly dismissed.

Emma McGuigan was made redundant from the Belfast firm in January 2009.

The tribunal heard the sacking came a month after Ms McGuigan had criticised the work of a partner at the firm in an email and at a meeting.

The tribunal found that the stated reason for her dismissal - "last in, first out" - was not correct.

The company accepted it had not followed any redundancy process, but argued Ms McGuigan would have been dismissed even if it had.

The company partner Ms McGuigan had criticised, Eric Munro, was the same one who selected her for redundancy.

Criteria

He based his decision on criteria he created, which concentrated on the fee to be generated by each employee.

It took into account only accounts that clients were contractually bound to pay, not any other potential fee-earning work employees could carry out.

However, when notified she was being made redundant on 12 January 2009, Ms McGuigan was told it was because "you were the last to be employed as a manager within the PPP projects group at Belfast".

The tribunal concluded that the company's decision not to comply with its redundancy policy was deliberate and not an oversight.

Staff were not consulted and there was no search for voluntary redundancies.

It also found that different criteria for redundancies had been used by different partners.

Ms McGuigan had also claimed she was the victim of discrimination on the basis of her gender and sexual orientation, but the tribunal found no evidence of this.