NCT centre worker sues for unfair dismissal

A man who claims he was unfairly dismissed from a Cork NCT centre said he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of working there.

Richard Hoban, of Norwood Park, Cobh, Co Cork, claimed staff and test inspectors were encouraged to “bring in cars” to fill test slots and quotas and the cars would inevitably pass.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal heard Mr Hoban, who began working at the centre in 2006, was out of work for six to seven months after he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2008.

He was dismissed in 2012 because he regularly brought vehicles into the test centre that did not belong to him. Mr Hoban said it was an accepted practice.

Manager Michael Long denied it was an accepted practice at the centre to bring in cars for testing. He said staff were only allowed to bring in cars belonging to close family members.

“Everybody knew and everyone was trained that you do not bring cars in,” said Mr Long. “From the CEO down it’s explained and everyone accepts it.”

Mr Hoban, meanwhile, said he felt alienated and overlooked at work but when he raised the issue with Mr Long, he was told it was because “you stink”.

He earned €500 per week working in administration at the test centre, booking in cars.

Mr Hoban was sent for re-training to Dublin after he was struck by a car driven by an irate customer. Mr Hoban said he had been told to make a note of any aggressive customers and he went out to note the car registration.

“He did drive at me, then slammed on the brakes and the car jolted forward,” Mr Hoban said. “It clipped off me and then he reversed and drove out.”

While training in Dublin, Mr Hoban said he came to realise things were “done differently” at the Cork centre.

A tribunal decision is expected later this year.


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