Bus driver fired for using mobile phone and missing green light

ireland
Bus Driver Fired For Using Mobile Phone And Missing Green Light
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Gordon Deegan

A bus driver was dismissed for being “engrossed in his mobile phone for 35+ seconds” when behind the wheel of his bus and missing a green traffic light as a result.

The bus driver was sacked in March of this year for gross misconduct after CCTV footage showed him to be using the mobile phone while in control of a bus.

The bus company stated that it had dismissed the driver for gross misconduct due to the use of a “mobile phone on several occasions within the cab of a bus while driving on Thursday, January 9th 2020.”

Represented by the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) in the case, the bus driver had sued for unfair dismissal and now the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has dismissed his claim.

Fair dismissal

Adjudication Officer at the WRC, Hugh Lonsdale found that the dismissal was not unfair.

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The transport company launched an investigation into the driver's work after a member of the public made a complaint that his bus was parked on a pedestrian crossing.

After viewing CCTV of the bus driver’s driving at the time, an Operations Manager at the company on February 6th instructed a colleague to suspend the bus driver when he turned up for work the following day based on CCTV footage he had viewed.

In his email to his colleague, the Operations Manager wrote: “What is especially concerning is the clip where he is engrossed in his phone for 35+ seconds and misses the green traffic light!!”

The transport firm stated that the use of a mobile phone while in control of a bus is strictly forbidden and is classified as gross conduct.

At an investigation meeting the bus driver acknowledged he had used his mobile phone on the day in question whilst in the cab of his bus.

CCTV policy

The driver was sacked for gross misconduct on March 3rd of this year and the employer argued at the WRC that there were substantial grounds justifying his dismissal.

The driver argued that his dismissal was unfair as the data used by the transport company was obtained contrary to their own CCTV policy.

The driver stated that it was viewed as a result of a complaint from a member of the public and therefore, the employer illegally scrutinised unrelated footage without the complainant’s consent.

At this meeting the driver acknowledged he had used his mobile phone on the day in question whilst in the cab of his bus. The bus driver argued that his employer failed to take into account his excellent work record or his personal circumstances at the time.

In his findings on the use of the CCTV footage, Mr Lonsdale stated that the worker who viewed the footage would have been negligent if they had not acted on it.

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