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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Estate agent settles case over 'dismissal'

Mum-of-three was in 'emotional negative equity'

Shane Hickey

A FORMER director of a leading estate agency yesterday said she was no longer in "emotional negative equity" after a case she took for constructive dismissal was settled.

Ruth Maguire (41), from Bray, Co Wicklow, had taken a case against Sherry FitzGerald after claiming that she was bullied and harassed into resigning from the company following her return from maternity leave.

Lawyers for the mother of three and the estate agents reached agreement behind closed doors at the offices of the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin, after the chairman of the tribunal warned that "one or other" of the parties stood to "lose a lot" if the proceedings continued.

Ms Maguire left Sherry FitzGerald in April 2009, having worked for the company for 17 years. She had been appointed one of 12 directors in July 2006.

"It has been an horrendous two years but I had a fantastic team behind me and I am happy now that it is over. For the first time in two years, I am not in emotional negative equity," she said.

The tribunal had already been through a full day of hearings, during which it heard that Ms Maguire had been asked to take a year's unpaid leave when she returned from maternity leave in November 2008.

She claimed that when she refused, she was removed from her position as head of the Bray branch and moved to the smaller Greystones office with a subsequent cut in commission.

The company argued that she had left the firm on good terms and that problems with the move had been settled prior to that.

It rejected allegations that her old post was filled by a junior member of its staff.

At the opening of yesterday's hearing, the second day of the case, tribunal chairman Charles Corcoran said "one or other" of the parties stood to lose a lot and he was prepared to give them time for discussion.

After about an hour in discussions, legal representatives said they had reached an agreement and that there was no need for further hearings. Mr Corcoran said it was better for the tribunal that the agreement came from the two groups.

'Horrendous'

Afterwards, neither side would reveal the exact financial details of the agreement. Conor Bowman, counsel for Ms Maguire, said they were "very happy" with the settlement.

Michael Grehan, the managing director of Sherry Fitzgerald, said the company was "very happy that the case has been settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties".

During the first day of hearing, Ms Maguire said she had considered moving to France. Her husband is French.

She has not worked since leaving Sherry Fitzgerald but has completed a number of FAS courses in the meantime.

After the case was complete, she said she was unclear what she would work at in the future.

"I just want to think about today and put those two years behind me," Ms Maguire said.

Irish Independent

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