Manager was not permitted to defend himself against allegations that led to dismissal from Cork company, court hears

Mr Nowak alleges he was not informed who complained about him or the dates of the alleged events and submits his right to natural justice and fair procedures was disregarded.
Manager was not permitted to defend himself against allegations that led to dismissal from Cork company, court hears

Markus Nowak claims he had “no right to respond or to defend my position” when he was allegedly given an ultimatum to resign or be summarily dismissed from Blizzard Entertainment Ireland Limited, where he has worked since 2008. Picture: iStock

A product support manager is seeking various injunctions that would prevent the termination of his employment with a video games development company on account of alleged gross misconduct.

Markus Nowak claims he had “no right to respond or to defend my position” when he was allegedly given an ultimatum to resign or be summarily dismissed from Blizzard Entertainment Ireland Limited, where he has worked since 2008.

Mr Nowak alleges he was not informed who complained about him or the dates of the alleged events and submits his right to natural justice and fair procedures was disregarded.

In a sworn statement, Mr Nowak, who lives in Kileens, Co Cork, said he was first informed last week in a video call with a HR manager and legal advisor about a series of allegations made against him by a number of employees.

The allegations, which he denies, range from commenting on female employees’ appearances, making sexual commentary and requesting inappropriate images from female staff and/or sending them.

He was allegedly advised that, given there was more than one complaint, the company, which has its registered offices at Blackpool Retail Park in Cork City, would not give credibility to any response from him and, therefore, there was no merit in hearing from him.

During the same call, he claims, he was advised the allegations had been investigated and his summary dismissal determined. His immediate resignation was offered as an alternative.

Shocked

Mr Nowak said he was “in a state of shock” upon being advised of the “very offensive and upsetting” allegations. When he requested time to consider the matters he was allegedly told he must decide during that call if he would resign.

He was warned the allegations would become public if he did not quit, he said, adding: 

“I understood those consequences, but I advised the defendant that I could not resign in the circumstances.” 

He alleges the company breached its own terms and conditions and, in particular, has failed to comply with its own disciplinary procedure. Further, he claims the company failed to carry out any or any proper investigation.

His counsel, Mark Connaughton SC told the High Court on Friday that there “isn’t a conceivable response” that could justify the firm’s actions in relation to his client.

The matter came before Mr Justice Senan Allen on Friday.

The judge, on an ex-parte basis, granted the applicant permission to serve short notice of the motion seeking various interlocutory reliefs.

The case will return before the Court next week.

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