Executive accused of harassing colleague at Christmas party takes legal action – The Irish Times

A senior pharmaceutical company executive accused of harassing a junior colleague has launched High Court action aimed at preventing his employer from continuing with an “irremediably flawed” disciplinary process against him.

The action has been brought by Sean Brennan, senior vice president of Global Head of Quality and Product Surveillance at Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, who strongly denies all allegations against him.

Brennan is the subject of an internal disciplinary process over allegations including that he harassed a junior colleague after the company Christmas party at a Dublin hotel last December.

He claims he was the subject of an investigation initiated by his employer into allegations that, on the night of the defendant’s Christmas party, he participated in an incident of inappropriate touching of a minor female colleague.

He is also alleged to have made unwanted sexual advances toward her, first in a private hotel room and then at a casual party in another private hotel room after the party ended.

In the days following the alleged incidents, Mr Brennan says the defendant launched an internal investigation.

He claims the trial is flawed for several reasons, including that he was denied the opportunity to question his accuser and other witnesses who provided evidence against him.

Investigators gave Mr. Brennan a final report concluding that he had behaved inappropriately, which he said amounts to a finding that he has harassed.

Brennan denies those claims and says investigators have acted outside their jurisdiction in reaching conclusions against him, and that the report appears to be an attempt to influence the disciplinary panel.

The investigators had no right to make factual findings against him and should do so independently of the investigators, he says.

The reported events took place in a place not paid for by the employer and were not a social-work event.

He says that the investigators’ conclusions against him are manifestly unfair, evidently illogical, unreasonable and contrary to common sense.

He states that, following the findings contained in the investigation report, he will be required to appear before a disciplinary panel on Friday, May 3, which will decide what action, if any, to take if he is found to have violated his employer’s code of conduct. .

Mr Brennan has been warned that he could be dismissed from his job.

Represented by Ian FitzHarris BL and Mark Harty SC, Mr Brennan of Aubrey Manor, Rathcoole, Co Dublin claims that the investigation into the allegations has at all times been a fundamental and serious breach of fair procedures and constitutional and natural justice .

He fears that any ruling against him will have an adverse impact on his reputation. He had never been the subject of a disciplinary process before and has worked for the company since 2010.

Following a direction from his employer last December, he has been working from home. The court heard that, in correspondence, the employer denies that any irregularity or injustice occurred in the investigation.

In Superior Court on Thursday, Judge Mark Sanfey granted Brennan, ex parte, a temporary injunction preventing the company from continuing with the disciplinary process.

The judge, who noted that the defendant appeared to have put a lot of work into the process, said he hoped the employer would strongly defend the process when the matter came back before the court.

However, he was satisfied that the claimant’s claim that the process is flawed is arguable and, given the serious consequences for Mr Brennan’s employment, he settled for granting a temporary injunction.

The matter was adjourned for a week.