A high-flying executive on a salary of €262,000 a year who was let go by Bewley's Oriental Cafes has been awarded €7,500 by the Employment Appeals Tribunal in compensation for unfair dismissal.
The relatively low compensation from a tribunal which can award up to two years' salary is down to the fact that Bewley's had paid the executive all his entitlements including €595,000 he had spent on shares in the company.
In a rare case of executive dismissal to come before the tribunal, Grant Galvin of Goatstown in Dublin 14 said he was recruited in 2005 from Coca-Cola to revitalise the Bewley's brand after "a strong public reaction" when the company closed two of its restaurants in Dublin.
In 2006, a target of €10m profit was pencilled in but by the end of 2007 that was reduced to €2.5m as the company had to absorb huge losses at its Grafton Street cafe.
By 2008 the growing recession was making matters worse, and there was a "general sense of unease" in the board. It felt a "hard landing was in store" and wanted to protect the core business and get out of any risky ventures.
Consequently, in August 2008 the company decided that the brand development project should be terminated and it decided to make Galvin redundant. The company stressed that this did not reflect on Galvin's performance.