The former executive director of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sued the organization, claiming that he was illegally dismissed after he issued regulations on protective disclosure.
Mr. Andrew Kelly also claims that he was fired in order to prevent the complaints he filed against two board members from being properly investigated.
The lawsuit is the latest development in a significant period of upheaval in the charity for animal welfare.
Prior to his departure last month, several volunteer board members resigned, while others, who were suspended pending an investigation into his complaints, were returned. Dr. Kelly’s claims are disputed by the ISPCA.
It is understood that the charity claims to have been unaware of any protected disclosures.
It says that the basis for the termination of his contract is the termination of the relationship between him and the board.
Dr Kelly, 58, of Ardee, Co Louth, opened the case on Monday and the case briefly reached the Dublin District Civil Court on Wednesday.
Judge John O’Connor adjourned the proceedings for two weeks to allow for mediation.
Dr. Kelly declined to comment yesterday.
The Scottish-born executive took control of the ISPCA in 2014, having previously been a senior policy adviser at Humane Society International.
He was also previously the head of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and managed its wildlife rehabilitation center in Cheshire, England.
Dr. Kelly has also raised a number of issues related to management in charities.
Dr. Kelly filed complaints against two board members, chairwoman Fiona Squibb and Seamus Counihan, which led to their suspension in January.
Ms. Squibb then filed a High Court case against the ISPCA in March, arguing that her suspension was unfair.
She stated that the complaints against her and Mr. Counihan had been investigated for annoying reasons.
The case was adjourned after the judge called both sides in case they mediated.
Both suspended directors were returned in a few days, and the board made the decision to part with Dr. soon. Kelly.
Part of Dr. Kelly’s case is that he informed the board that he gave the regulator a protected discovery five days before he was dismissed.
This will be challenged by the ISPCA in the proceedings.
In an affidavit in an earlier High Court case, Ms. Squibb said Dr. Kelly had long sought her removal and had previously threatened to appeal to the regulator if she did not resign.
She claimed that any such complaint would be “baseless”.
Ms. Squibb also claimed that a complaint was filed against her after she learned of a “problem” at Co Longford headquarters and talked to employees about concerns.
She said the complaint did not contain formal allegations of any injustice on her part.
Ms. Squibb claimed that Dr. Kelly had filed a complaint against Mr. Counihan shortly after Mr. Counihan requested insight into the accounts for the previous five years.
Her testimony pointed out that Dr. Kelly had a long list of problems with the board, which he stated in an e-mail in December.
In correspondence, Dr. Kelly claimed that the board failed to perform its management duty and also undermined him as executive director.