Driver awarded €12k by tribunal

A company van driver involved in a number of road rage incidents and eventually convicted of careless driving has been awarded €12,000 after winning his unfair dismissal case.

This follows the Employment Appeals Tribunal awarding Neil O’Malley €12,000 after finding his employer, Comconsult Technologies Limited, trading as Fleet Connect, unfairly dismissed him.

Fleet Connect installs wifi for public transport companies and Mr O’Malley was employed to install the wifi and used a company van during his work.

However, Mr O’Malley was sacked for gross misconduct after the company’s insurer said it could no longer insure Mr O’Malley after he pleaded guilty to a careless driving offence in court.

The managing director told the tribunal hearing there were several road rage incidents involving Mr O’Malley and despite warnings and advice the incidents continued. Mr O’Malley did not accept responsibility for any of the incidents. The managing director told the hearing he was particularly upset by an incident involving an elderly man near Drogheda, Co Louth.

The company brought in a human resources consultant to facilitate Mr O’Malley in managing his driving while the operations manager gave Mr O’Malley a verbal warning. In November 2014, Mr O’Malley was involved in an road traffic accident while driving his company van. When the operations manager spoke to him, he blamed the other person. At all times Mr O’Malley maintained his innocence.

However, the tribunal report states Mr O’Malley was convicted arising from his involvement in the incident. The managing director took the decision to dismiss Mr O‘Malley when he was taken off the company’s insurance policy. The premium required to put back on the policy was uneconomic.

In its ruling after hearing evidence over two days at a hearing in Dublin, the tribunal stated it was satisfied gross misconduct did not arise in this case: “There were a number of past incidents where the claimant’s driving gave cause for concern, some of a serious nature and the respondent’s response might be seen to have been lenient. However, these incidents were not relied on to justify the claimant’s dismissal and therefore the tribunal disregards them.”

The tribunal found that Mr O’Malley was unfairly dismissed on the grounds that the issue of insuring him was not fully explored.

In making the €12,000 award, it said it took into account the substantial contribution Mr O’Malley’s behaviour made to his circumstances.


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