DHL fights driver ruling

Logistics company DHL has launched a legal challenge against a Labour Court ruling that it must pay one of its former drivers over €72,000 for unfairly dismissing him from his job.

DHL fights driver ruling

In August, the Labour Court ruled Michael Coughlan was unfairly dismissed by DHL Express Ireland Ltd arising out of an incident in October 2015 when the company van he was driving collided with fencing at a DHL depot in Cork causing €2,500 worth of damage.

The company dismissed the driver/courier a month later for misconduct.

Mr Coughlan, who had worked for the company for 11 years, had previously attended a training course over his involvement in accidents in DHL vans in 2012 and 2013. Barrister Tom Mallon, counsel for DHL Express Ireland Ltd, told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon it was the company’s case that the Labour Court’s decision was flawed and in breach of fair procedures.

He said the matter came before the Labour Court after the company had appealed a Workplace Relations Commission finding that Mr Coughlan’s dismissal was disproportionate and unfair. The commission had ordered he be re-hired.

Mr Mallon said when the company’s appeal came before the Labour Court the chairman refused to allow DHL’s representative cross-examine Mr Coughlan on issues which it deemed relevant to its appeal.

Counsel said the refusal was unfair on the company and amounted to a breach by the Labour Court of its obligation to provide a fair and full hearing to each party.

DHL’s witnesses at the hearing had been cross-examined by Mr Coughlan’s representatives. Mr Mallon told the court the Labour Court had awarded Mr Coughlan just over €72,000.

Judge Creedon granted the company permission, on an ex-parte basis where only one side was present in court, to bring its proceedings against the Labour Court.

As well as seeking an order quashing the Labour Court’s determination, DHL also wants the matter remitted for rehearing before a differently constituted division of the Labour Court. It further seeks a declaration that the Labour Court acted in breach of its obligations towards DHL when it denied its representative a chance to cross-examine Mr Coughlan.

Mr Coughlan, from Gerard Griffin Street, Cork, is a notice party to the proceedings which the judge made returnable to a date in October.

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