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Lawyer gets €80k award after unfair redundancy

A LAWYER who was unfairly targeted for redundancy has been awarded €80,000 by a statutory tribunal.

Margaret MacEvilly, of Finglas Park, Dublin, specialised in work at the district court in Blanchardstown since 2001.

The principal of the firm for which she worked died in 2004 and another solicitor took over the practice.

In the following years Ms MacEvilly and the new principal had discussions on the possibility of her becoming a partner in the firm.

The firm got into talks with another law firm in 2010 and a new company KOD/Lyons was formed in 2012.

The partners of the new firm decided that a number of redundancies would be required and Ms MacEvilly was eventually selected for redundancy.

She was the only one to be let go out of a pool of 11 solicitors.

She believed she had been unfairly selected and brought her case against KOD/Lyons Solicitors of Usher's Court Dublin to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

In the report of its determination, the tribunal noted that Ms MacEvilly had worked hard and shown loyalty to her employer. While she recognised that the merger would diminish her chances of becoming a partner, "she had no expectation that her services, loyalty and hard work would be discarded", the tribunal said.

She was "utterly shocked" to discover in October 2012 that she was one of a selection pool of three solicitors being considered for redundancy by the merged company - the other eight practitioners were exempt from consideration.

"Longevity of service was not a consideration and instead, each of these three solicitors were to be assessed on what they proposed bringing to the practice rather than what they achieved," the report said.

It awarded Ms MacEvilly €80,000 but noted that a "purported redundancy" provisional lump sum of €14,388 had already been paid, leaving a compensation award of €65,612.