Zeus Packaging Group ordered to compensate worker unfairly selected for redundancy

Zeus Packaging Group Ordered To Compensate Worker Unfairly Selected For Redundancy
The Labour Court ruled that Gráinne O’Hara was unfairly dismissed by Zeus Packaging Group "arising from unfair selection for redundancy".
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Gordon Deegan

The Labour Court has ordered the packaging group owned by 2021 overall EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Brian O'Sullivan to pay out €34,000 in compensation to a former business development executive for her unfair dismissal.

In the Labour Court ruling, Deputy Chairwoman Louise O’Donnell concluded that Gráinne O’Hara was unfairly dismissed by Zeus Packaging Group “arising from unfair selection for redundancy”.


The case came before the Labour Court following an appeal by Ms O’Hara from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Last November, the WRC ordered Zeus to pay Ms O’Hara €10,000 compensation, less the statutory redundancy amount she had already received for her unfair dismissal.

In making the €34,000 award, Ms O’Donnell said the court has already factored into its calculations the statutory redundancy payment received by Ms O’Hara.

Recent accounts show the Rathcoole -headquartered Zeus Packaging recorded a 51 per cent increase in pre-tax profits last year, jumping to €16.39 million as revenues surged by €80.96 million, or 39 per cent, to €287.45 million.

Pay to Fermoy native and sole director Mr O’Sullivan reduced from €2.3 million to €2.18 million last year.



In the Labour Court ruling, Ms O'Donnell also found that no serious or worthwhile consultation took place with Ms O'Hara prior to the decision to make her redundant in July 2020.

Ms O'Donnell stated the process used by Zeus Packaging was not clear and transparent and that no substantial consideration was given to alternatives to dismissing Ms O'Hara by way of redundancy.

Ms O’Hara commenced work with Zeus in May 2017 as a business development executive and sales representative.

Arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ms O’Hara was placed on temporary layoff with effect from March 24th, 2020.


Ms O’Hara submitted that she continued to work with clients, as requested by Zeus, until April 22nd, 2020 when her computer access was blocked.

Ms O’Hara stated that on May 27th, 2020 she was asked to return the company car on July 10th, 2020 she was informed that she was being made redundant.

Ms O’Hara submitted that in the course of the conversation on July 10th, 2020 Zeus was unable to identify the selection criteria used in coming to the decision.

On July 14th, Ms O’Hara emailed Zeus setting out a list of reasons why she should be kept in employment, but on July 24th Ms O’Hara was informed that her employment had been terminated by way of redundancy.


Ms O’Hara submitted the process engaged in by the employer was not a fair, open and transparent procedure and that she had more skills than some staff who were retained.

Ms O’Hara took up new work in September 2021.

She stated her earning with Zeus was €43,00 per annum, plus bonuses and the use of a company car, while her earnings with her new employer is approximately €5,000 less per year.

A representative for Zeus told the court hearing that the Covid lockdown hit the business hard and it had to lay off 23 people, six of whom were made redundant, including four from Ms O’Hara's department.


Zeus disputes that Ms O’Hara was unfairly selected for redundancy and or that the procedure followed was not a fair procedure.

Zeus submitted that they considered various other options before coming to the decision to implement redundancies.

The firm also confirmed that since Ms O’Hara’s redundancy the department she worked in has closed completely.

In terms of the process, Zeus submitted they used a matrix, but added the matrix was only one factor in the process and did not operate in isolation in the redundancy process.

Zeus has been contacted for comment.

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