Saturday 20 January 2018

Sacked Google manager got 30pc pay rise previous year, tribunal told

Rachel Berthold at the Google employment appeals tribunal. Photo: Mark Condren
Rachel Berthold at the Google employment appeals tribunal. Photo: Mark Condren
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

GOOGLE Ireland allegedly failed to give an initial verbal warning to one of the company's most senior managers in a disciplinary process that ultimately led to her dismissal.

Rachel Berthold, former manager of Publisher Support with Google, alleges that she was unfairly dismissed in May 2011 from her €93,600-a-year position.

The company claimed she had failed to meet performance expectations that she take a "holistic approach" to her role and manage "upwards and sideways as well as her team".

Ms Berthold was given a pay rise of 30pc the previous year following an annual 'Happiness Survey' – however, representatives for Google Ireland told an Employment Appeals Tribunal that the rise was not performance-related and had been received by all staff across the board.

A previous hearing in May was told that Ms Berthold was a "level six" manager – one of Google's top 7pc of employees at the Dublin operation, having come over to the company in 2008 when it acquired Double Click, where she had previously worked.

Ciara Hoare, a human resources partner at Google, agreed with the tribunal that Ms Berthold was not given an oral warning as the first step in the process that ultimately led to her dismissal.

Ms Hoare claimed Ms Berthold had been "persistently underperforming" from around August 2010 right up until November 2011 and she said this was "considered to be so serious that the sanction was to go straight to a written warning".

Ms Hoare agreed with a tribunal board member that the policy within Google had now changed and the policy was to "skip (the oral warning) completely" and to go straight to the level two sanction of a written warning.

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She told the tribunal that Ms Berthold had been the lowest-paid level six manager at the time of her dismissal.

"This was not surprising because she wasn't performing," she said.

In her annual review, Ms Berthold was rated against her peers across Google operations globally and was given a mark of 2.9 out of five. Anything below three is considered to be an underperformance, Ms Hoare explained.

Continuing her evidence from the previous hearing, London-based manager Anne-Catrin Sallaba, Ms Berthold's line manager, said she could not remember if an oral warning had been issued.

Asked by the tribunal if they had considered demotion instead of "showing that lady the door", Ms Sallaba said it had been decided that demotion was not "a real possibility".

Ms Berthold is expected to give evidence when the case resumes on January 17 next.

Irish Independent

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