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Covert emails 'could have collapsed company'

A former Dublin-based senior compliance officer who covertly transferred a vast number of confidential company documents belonging to her employer could have precipitated the collapse of a UK property investment firm that man- ages £1.7bn (€2bn) of assets, a London court has heard.

Ruth Chadwick, who was the chief executive of the Dublin office of Brandeaux Advisers and the head of research and business development of its London base, was sacked for gross misconduct last year after the firm uncovered the secret transfer of the documents to her private email address. She later sent them to her solicitor.

The firm claimed that had the documents been passed on to a third party the firm's survival could have been jeopardised.

As part of her contract Ms Chadwick was required to be based in Dublin four days a week and in London for one.

Ms Chadwick took time off in June 2009 after becoming ill from stress. She also complained about the management style of Kay Brandeaux, who controls the group.

While on sick leave she orally tendered her resignation, but was persuaded to stay by Ms Brandeaux. She was later told that she was being made redundant. The firm subsequently examined her email account and became aware of the covert emails. Ms Chadwick was then dismissed for gross misconduct.

The High Court accepted that Ms Chadwick hadn't intended to use the documents for a "nefarious purpose". However, the judge ruled that she was in breach of her contract by emailing the documents to her private email address. He struck out Ms Chadwick's claim for unfair dismissal.

Irish Independent