Consider reasonable adjustments before dismissing

A Dundee bus driver who was sacked after losing her licence following a blackout was unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has ruled. The driver with Xplore Dundee had been employed for five years when she was dismissed after she disclosed that she had suffered a blackout at home.

An employment tribunal ruled that she had been unfairly dismissed and ordered the company to reinstate her.

The tribunal heard that the employee had been asked to attend a welfare meeting with her employer but that, when they sought medical reports, they were unable to identify a cause for the blackout incident. Drivers are required to tell the DVLA of such events and the employer liaised with the agency during this time.

The employer then told the employee that she would not be permitted to drive until they received a letter from the GP stating that she was fit to be behind the wheel.  The GP confirmed that she was fit to work, but unable to drive public transport. DVLA revoked her licence, stating that she could resume driving if she remained fit for a period of twelve months without a seizure.

However, the employer decided the claimant was “unable to fulfil the requirements” of the role due to the DVLA suspension and she was dismissed. The Tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed and that she should be reinstated.

Clearly in this case, there were steps that ought to have been taken by the employer to secure alternatives and to determine if the employee remained fit. The passage of time between the investigation and suspension and eventual dismissal meant that she was dismissed only a very short time before the driving ban was lifted.  At the very least, the employer should have considered what reasonable adjustments could be made to support her on-going employment.

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