Posted: September 4th, 2019
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) have ordered Bus Éireann to pay a long-serving bus driver €10,200 in compensation was constructively dismissed
The bus driver Dan Fitzpatrick said that he has been left ‘deeply traumatised’ over the nature of his constructive dismissal by the national bus firm. Mr Fitzpatrick had been employed by Bus Eireann for 16 years in the Galway area. The company advised him that he would need to retire from his position or be terminated due to an incident involving an elderly passenger in November 2017.
If he has opted to stay on and be fired and he would have no longer been entitled to his €10,000 to €15,000 retirement gratuity. due to this he retired on November 27, 2017, after what he described to the WRC as “a flawed and unfair disciplinary investigation” by Bus Éireann. He subsequently lodged a claim for constructive dismissal under the Unfair Dismissals Act with the WRC.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Ray Flaherty said that Mr Fitzpatrick had no option but to retire when he was told failure to do so would result in him losing his retirement gratuity and referred to the gratuity ultimatum to Mr Fitzpatrick as “unreasonable and unacceptable”.
In his findings, Mr Flaherty said that comments made to Mr Fitzpatrick by a boss that “there is no excuse for this behaviour” during the incident and “you will never work in the company again” supported Mr Fitzpatrick’s claim that fair process was not adhered to.
Bus Éireann did not attend the WRC oral hearing but a Bus Éireann representative stated: “Bus Éireann do not comment on individual cases and we have no further comment”.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “I feel vindicated by the WRC ruling because I did nothing wrong. I was always only interested in doing my job properly. There was no justification for what happened to me.
In the aforementioned incident Mr Fitzpatrick, in his own words, said that he physically escorted an elderly passenger off a city route bus service after a heated exchange between the two and repeated requests from Mr Fitzpatrick for the man to leave the bus. Once the gentleman was clear from the bus he promptly got back into his driver’s seat and proceeded to drive away.
The next day after the incident, Mr Fitzpatrick was summoned to his boss’s office where he was shown with three different CCTV tapes of what occurred and was immediately suspended pending a subsequent disciplinary hearing.
Categories: Work Accident