Demoted manager 'texted prayer to colleagues'
AN administrative manager at Harvey Norman has claimed she was demoted and transferred after texting the Lord's Prayer to colleagues, following an upsetting meeting with her manager.
Alicia Long obtained a temporary High Court injunction last month, restraining Harvey Norman (Ireland) Ltd from holding a hearing into accusations of gross misconduct over the texts to colleagues at the branch in Naas, Co Kildare, where she works.
Yesterday, she asked the court to keep the injunction in place pending the full hearing of her action over the company's disciplinary procedures.
However, Mr Justice Michael Hanna, after hearing arguments from both sides, said it was a case that should go for a full hearing as soon as possible.
He ordered that Ms Long turn up for work at the company's Rathfarnham branch and that she should continue to be paid as an administrative manager until the outcome of the hearing on May 11.
Ms Long, of Newbury Park, Derriturn, Co Kildare, claimed that she was subjected to disproportionate treatment after sending the text.
She said that at the time of sending it she was upset following a counselling meeting with her manager about her work last January.
She acknowledged having "a problem" with her manager and said she had lodged a complaint. Ms Long later went to a disciplinary hearing about the texting matter, at which the demotion and transfer were imposed. However, she said she was entitled under her contract to an internal appeal.
The company has denied this and said the procedure in relation to disciplinary matters was set down in a staff handbook.
The company said Ms Long sent the text message to two staff members and that she "ranted" at a junior member of staff the following day.
Ms Long, a mother of two from Barbados, said she had not meant any malice by sending the text. She also denied ranting at a junior colleague.
Mr Justice Hanna gave the parties time to talk about going to mediation but no agreement was reached between them.