Intel takes High Court action to block Labour Court ruling in discrimination case

Tuesday 20 May 2014 17.28
Intel wants the Labour Court to rehear the case
Intel wants the Labour Court to rehear the case

US multinational Intel has taken High Court proceedings to prevent the Labour Court issuing a ruling in a discrimination case taken by an employee.

Marie Cunningham was employed for 11 years as a senior Intel Human Resources manager earning in excess of €100,000 a year when she became pregnant in 2007. 

When she returned from maternity leave in August 2008, she claimed that she was not restored to her original position, and she was not given an equivalent role, as required under the Maternity Protection Act.

Ms Cunningham claimed that she suffered embarrassment, humiliation and isolation, and went on sick leave in December 2008.

She took a discrimination case against Intel in the Equality Tribunal, which she lost.

Her appeal to the Labour Court was heard in 2012.

However Intel, which strongly contests Ms Cunningham's allegations, has gone to the High Court to prevent the Labour Court from issuing a determination, and to force the Labour Court to rehear the case.

Intel argues that the Labour Court should have permitted it to cross-examine Ms Cunningham on her submissions in separate High Court personal injury proceedings against the company.

The company claims that Ms Cunningham had never disclosed to it that she had been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills while she was on maternity leave.

Ms Cunningham, who is a notice party to the case, is present in court, but is not legally represented.

The court has been told that the procedures of the Labour Court in hearing the discrimination claim against Intel were rational and reasonable.

John Gleeson SC for the Labour Court said the Labour Court was entitled to define the issues before it.

The Labour Court had made it clear to Intel that it would only adjudicate on the evidence before it, and would not treat assertions of fact as evidence.

He said it had been open to both parties to adduce evidence on certain issues but neither party did so.