Limerick truck driver involved in collision with elderly motorist awarded €2,500 for unfair dismissal

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

A TRUCK driver who was involved in an accident with an elderly motorist - two weeks after urinating in a customer’s yard - has been awarded almost €2,500 after the Employment Appeals Tribunal found his actions did not amount to gross misconduct.

A TRUCK driver who was involved in an accident with an elderly motorist - two weeks after urinating in a customer’s yard - has been awarded almost €2,500 after the Employment Appeals Tribunal found his actions did not amount to gross misconduct.

Bobby Amadasun, of Shannon Vale, Old Cratloe Road, took the case against Shannon Transport, Annacotty, for whom he worked from May 2006 until he was sacked in August 2009.

The tribunal heard he had already had a number of disciplinary issues with his employer, including not showing up for work for two days after taking holidays in September 2008, and had been issued with two final written warnings before he again got into trouble in July 2009.

Mr Amadasun was doing a delivery on July 3. He told the tribunal he was waiting at the back of this premises for 20 minutes waiting to complete the delivery when he was caught short. As he was relieving himself near some rubbish, a woman had come out and seen him. She refused to take delivery of the goods.

It was the firm’s case that its distribution manager had warned the driver that this incident could lead to dismissal although this, according to the tribunal, was not noted in a company memo.

On July 17, Mr Amadasun was turning into a shopping centre car park when he was “involved in a minor very low speed collision” with the elderly female driver of a car exiting. She spoke to Shannon Transport’s distribution manager twice over the next 10 days alleging that Mr Amadasun had been driving recklessly and that he and another man in the truck - who turned out to be his brother - had “behaved in a threatening and bullying manner”. Mr Amadasun denied this was the case. He described his manner as civil and told the tribunal that after the collision he had followed what he said was company policy not to admit liability and take photographs of the accident.

The driver was called to a meeting on July 31 to discuss complaints from customers, the collision and the carrying of a passenger in his truck without permission. It was the HR manager’s case that Mr Amadasun had become aggressive at this meeting. He did not want to see CCTV footage obtained by the elderly motorist, which the HR manager felt showed he and his brother had acted aggressively towards the woman. The HR manager said that this, along with the urination incident, amounted to gross misconduct and he was dismissed.

The tribunal found that the collision was a “matter of civil and insurance liability” that could not be characterised as gross misconduct. While the tribunal considered Mr Amadasun’s evidence “in many respects evasive and often contradictory”, it awarded him €2,484 for unfair dismissal.