Bus driver with four-year driving ban loses appeal against sacking by bus company

A major bus company has sacked one of its drivers after he was convicted of careless driving and had a four-year driving ban imposed.

The bus driver sued for unfair dismissal but the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has dismissed the claim.

WRC Adjudication Officer, Brian Dalton has concluded that the driver’s claim “is not well founded”.

Mr Dalton stated that the reason for the dismissal “is unambiguous and clear and solely derives from the statutory ban”.

The bus company told the WRC that the driver’s conviction “occurred during his employment”.

The traffic road incident that gave rise to the driving ban occurred in November 2014 and in the aftermath, the bus company issued the driver with a final written warning and suspended him.

However, a prosecution in the criminal courts took place much later from the November 2014 traffic incident where the bus driver was convicted of careless driving and had a four-year driving ban imposed.

The bus company wrote to the driver in March 2019 to state: “We note you have been convicted of careless driving and received a four-year driving ban effective from January 1st 2019.”

“As you are not currently in a position to drive buses for (anonymised) due to the circumstances you find yourself in, regretfully we have no alternative but to treat your contract of employment as having been frustrated by virtue of this driving ban.”

SIPTU argued on behalf of the bus driver that it was totally side-stepped concerning the procedures applied by the company and that there was no consultation whatsoever.

SIPTU also argued that other employees on long-term sick or no longer able to work as drivers or other roles based on a medical condition are redeployed and accommodated with a more suitable position.

SIPTU said that the company has many options for redeployment based on the size of operations and the significant numbers employed.

SIPTU also pointed out that the driving ban in this case is being appealed and the appeal has yet to be heard.

The bus company told the WRC that whilst it has previously redeployed drivers, either as a result of illness or a ban, this situation was very different.

The bus company stated that typically, a ban would be for no longer than six months and it simply is not possible to facilitate everybody based on the demand.

It said that at any time there may be up to 90 employees out of a very large workforce on long-term absence.

The bus company stated that the complainant’s case is unique having regard to the length of the ban, and that as a result of the driving ban, the contract could no longer be performed and was frustrated.

Most Read in Ireland