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Sharon Claffey Kaliouby is suing Enterprise Ireland in the US for having an "Irish bias" Photo by: Enterprise Ireland

Former U.S. based Enterprise Ireland employee sues over 'Irish bias'

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Sharon Claffey Kaliouby is suing Enterprise Ireland in the US for having an "Irish bias" Photo by: Enterprise Ireland

A former Enterprise Ireland employee is suing the government agency claiming it discriminates against American citizens.

Sharon Claffey Kaliouby was employed for six years in the Boston office of Enterprise Ireland (EI), which supports and invests in Irish businesses, the Irish Independent reports.

In her court filing she claims that Enterprise Ireland has a "history and practice" of treating so-called "local hires" differently, based on whether or not they are U.S hires.

Kaliouby is seeking a trial, compensation and punitive damages as a result of the alleged discrimination and alleged failure to pay taxes.

She was hired as a senior vice-president of learning solutions for an initial three-year contract, which was extended by a further three years. Kaliouby claims she tried to secure a full-time job with the agency in the spring of 2012, when her second contract expired.

"Despite her request for permanent employment, upon the expiration of the second three-year contract in January 2012, Enterprise Ireland terminated Ms Kaliouby's employment," a complaint filed with a court in Massachusetts states.

"This was consistent with its practice of terminating United States nationals after three, or at most six years."

"Enterprise Ireland offers Irish citizens working in America opportunities for permanent employment and, at times, relocation to Ireland or elsewhere, while refusing the same opportunities to its American employees," she alleges.

Kaliouby also claims the agency failed to deduct appropriate payroll taxes from her pay, including social security, Medicare, federal income tax and Massachusetts state income tax.

"Due to Enterprise Ireland's failure to withhold, Ms Kaliouby incurred significant costs associated with hiring tax preparers to assist her with filing her tax returns and paying taxes," the complaint against the agency claims.

The former EI employee says she consistently satisfied or exceeded her performance expectations and received positive performance reviews.

Enterprise Ireland has nine regional offices throughout Ireland and over 30 international locations.
 

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