The claimant commenced employment with Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney in August 1981 and held the position of senior associate in the property department at the time her employment was terminated. After the property collapse, the firm decided to restructure the property department in October 2008. During this round of restructuring the number of senior legal positions were reduced from five to three. Interviews were held for these positions.
A document was provided to the interviewers by Human Resources which outlined the points to remember when interviewing candidates. The interviewers also used a score sheet with set criteria for the interview process. The claimant received less marks than the other staff members. On examination, there was no indication in this document that a candidate should be marked on past performance. The Tribunal noted that “historical difficulties” were mentioned in the comments section of the “Client Skills” category of the claimant’s score sheet, and that this could not have been derived from the interview. There was also a comment in the “Technical/Legal Skills” category which stated “consistency and quality has met expectations for the most part” which the Tribunal believed could not have come from the interview process either.
Whilst the EAT accepted that a redundancy situation existed, it found that the marks the claimant obtained in the interview was influenced by information the interviewers were in possession of previously, and to which the claimant was not given an opportunity to respond to. The EAT determined that this rendered the interview process unfair and the claimant was awarded compensation of €90,000.