Worker sacked for crossing live rail tracks on toilet trip

A field service operator carrying out work for Irish Rail was sacked for crossing three live train track lines during a toilet trip at Mallow Station, Co Cork.

The Labour Court upheld a ruling by an Adjudication Officer (AO) that Gerry Davis was unfairly dismissed but contributed 90% to his own dismissal.

The Labour Court also upheld the AO ruling that Mr Davis’s former employer, waste firm Enva, pay him €3,700. The case was before the Labour Court as Mr Davis was appealing the part of the AO ruling that he contributed 90% to his own dismissal.

On October 19, 2015, Mr Davis went back across the live railtracks after his visit to the toilet despite being reprimanded by station manager Brian Gardiner about crossing the line in the first place.

In evidence, Mr Davis said that, prior to making his toilet trip, he received a phone call from his wife, who he said was extremely distressed. She told him that her father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Mr Davis said the news was hugely upsetting to him and, following the phone call, he was in a very distressed and distracted state.

Irish Rail made a formal complaint to Enva about Mr Davis twice crossing the rail lines and not wearing his hi-vis clothing at the time.

Irish Rail viewed it as a major incident from a health and safety point of view and Mr Davis was sacked by Enva in December 2015 for gross misconduct.


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