A London bus driver identified as Ian Brown has been sacked after after abandoning a full-load of passengers to get a coffee in a café during a shift
Prior to being sacked, Ian had been cautioned for his poor attendance during his five years of service before he left a bus full of passengers with the engine running as he went to the toilet and grabbed a hot drink.
During the disciplinary hearing at an employment tribunal, it was revealed that he was driving the 243 route from Waterloo to Wood Green when the incident happened. This led to the bus service being behind schedule.
A CCTV showed Ian running a red light as he read a letter inviting him to a disciplinary hearing. When called by the controller asking why the bus was late, Mr Brown allegedly said: “It is against my contract. I’m not driving this bus for the rest of the day.”
The controller said that a refusal to continue to drive would be a “self suspension”, to which Mr Brown replied: “I’m not suspending myself, you are bullying me and I’m not fit to drive. You can collect the bus from Seven Sisters,” and subsequently left the bus.
Brown subsequently claimed he was bullied by his boss and should be paid after being suspended. He said: “Controllers’ constant bullying and harassment while on duty goes unnoticed. Are you saying I have no rights to a toilet break or to be paid while off sick…. This is not a self suspension but stress under duress.”
After the CCTV footage and attendance records was reviewed, he was formally sacked on August 11, 2020. His appeal also failed.
In a report released by employment tribunal on March 8 after a meeting on February 22, 2023, it was concluded that Mr Brown’s claim of unfair dismissal has no basis.
Employment Judge Tuck KC wrote:
“On 13 March 2020 the claimant was driving a double decker bus on route 243.
“He arrived late to take over the bus – at around 2.17pm then left it unsecured at a bus stand, with the engine running and passengers on board, while he went to the café to use the toilet and collect a hot drink, not leaving the stand until 2.21pm.
“CCTV from a camera in the bus cab from 2.22pm shows the claimant taking pages which had been in the envelope. He was braking as he approached a traffic light, shows the light turning from amber to red at least three seconds before the claimant reached the stop line, and the claimant proceeding across the junction.
“It is not in dispute that the letter which was in the claimant’s hand and shown during this CCTV footage was the letter dated 12 March inviting him to a disciplinary hearing.
“I am satisfied that dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses. Furthermore, I would have found that the claimant contributed to his dismissal by 100 per cent.”
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