Two council waste management employees were caught red-handed by a member of the public - illegally dumping a mattress and a sofa on a public footpath.
The un-named local authority brought disciplinary action against the employees concerned with the local authority stating that for employees from its own waste management section to be found illegally dumping is “totally unacceptable and injurious to the Council”.
Employees of any local authority waste management section would come near the bottom of any list of people most likely to be found to be illegally dumping
However, a report from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) confirms that the two men engaged in the illegal dumping while driving a council vehicle though the council or any of the parties in the case are not identified.
One of the Council employees was driving the Council vehicle while the second was following behind on a moped.
The two called to a private home on April 6th 2017 and removed the bulky items and later illegally dumped the items on a public footpath.
The illegal dumping came to light after a complaint to the Council from a member of the public.
In a submission to the WRC, the Council stated that “it devotes a large amount of its available resources each year to dealing with problems associated with illegal dumping”.
It added: “For council employees to illegally dump furniture onto a public footpath is totally unacceptable and injurious to the council.”
The illegal dumping by the two waste management employees came before the WRC after a third Council waste management employee implicated in the illegal dumping appealed to the WRC a Council sanction where he received a written warning and a one day suspension without pay.
The man said that while on sick leave walking near his home on April 6th 2017, a Council van pulled up beside him and the driver was a colleague in the waste management section.
The man got into the van and remained in the van while the driver made two stops. He claimed that he was unaware what was going on outside the van when it was stopped as he was filling in forms to do with a personal matter.
The Council involved disciplinary action against all three. During the disciplinary process both the driver and the other employee stated that the third man was not in any way personally involved with the illegal dumping and had been in the van to simply give directions.
The Council stated that despite not being involved in the illegal dumping the complainant should have been aware of what was going on and reported it.
The employee argued that as he had not been involved in any conversation about the removal of the furniture and had no hand, act or part in the removal of the sofa and mattress which were dumped, he should not have been punished as he was by the imposition of a written warning and a day's suspension.
The worker stated that he found it abhorrent that any worker could be disciplined for an incident he was not involved in or knowledge of while it was occurring or thereafter.
However, the council argued that the worker, while not directly involved in the illegal dumping, was present and aware of the actions of his colleagues, but took no action to report this illegal behaviour.
The Council stated that for the worker to indicate that while he was not involved in the illegal dumping, but was in attendance in the van when the furniture was collected and later abandoned and not know what was happening is not in any way credible.