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Sacked bank boss wants to name other staff who exchanged pornographic emails

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James Reilly

James Reilly

James Reilly

The identities of dozens of Bank of Ireland employees, managers and top executives, alleged to have exchanged lewd pornographic emails, are to be sought publicly by a sacked manager battling to regain his job.

Barrister Johanna Ronan-Mehigan told the Circuit Civil Court that to date they had hidden behind the cloak of anonymity in Employment Appeals Tribunal proceedings.

"I want them named so that I can subpoena them to give evidence in this court and I will be bringing a discovery motion to find out who they are," she told Judge Matthew Deery.

Obscene

Ms Ronan-Mehigan represents manager James Reilly, of Edgewood Lawn, Blanchardstown, Dublin, who was sacked from his position with the Bank of Ireland at Main Street, Blanchardstown, in August 2009 for circulating "obscene and offensive" emails.

The tribunal found he had been unfairly dismissed and directed that he be reinstated to his old job, a decision now being appealed by Bank of Ireland.

The tribunal heard that at least 150 employees were on the list of people who exchanged porn emails. Mr Reilly told the tribunal he had forwarded emails described as pornographic, rude, racist and sexist, often without looking at them, to other male staff to mask his homosexuality. Ms Ronan-Mehigan said Mr Reilly should have been fully reinstated following a seven-day hearing.

"The emails were sent to my client's computer inbox and they came from Baggot Street (Bank of Ireland headquarters) down," she said.

"That is why Mr Reilly was dismissed. Many others were not fired."

She told Judge Deery yesterday that she wanted them named and if this was not done voluntarily, she would be bringing a motion of discovery to find out who they are.

"There is no stay on the tribunal's reinstatement order yet my client is not receiving any pay and cannot meet the repayments on his Bank of Ireland mortgage," she said. "The bank is threatening to repossess his home."

The tribunal decided the outcome of an in-house disciplinary process was pre- determined. The bank's group human resources had decided the dismissal outcome from the outset.

Inappropriate

It concluded that large numbers of "inappropriate" emails had been sent by and to large numbers of bank employees on a near daily basis.

Mr Reilly had been selected for dismissal without sufficient rationality because the bank had not pursued any action against other employees.

Yesterday's court appeal was adjourned to allow the parties discuss the possibility of voluntary discovery or permit time for the bringing of a motion directing discovery and the naming of other, as yet unidentified, employees caught in the chain of email exchanges.

The tribunal had heard that at least one of a series of obscene emails originated in the bank's Baggot Street, Dublin, head office.

Irish Independent