Bus driver who knocked down a cyclist was fairly dismissed

A bus driver who was fired after for hitting a cyclist was not unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has found. The decision by Lothian Buses to dismiss the employee who had worked at the company for 11 years until his dismissal was not “too harsh”.

Despite raising some concerns over the investigation of the incident by the operator, the tribunal said Lothian Buses had “a genuine belief’ that the employee had acted in a “dangerous and unsafe manner” and that, given the nature of his job, the decision to dismiss was “reasonable”.

The employee pulled out of a bus stop, causing a cyclist to “bang” the outside wing mirror of the vehicle, prompting the employee to sound his horn. The cyclist pulled in front of the bus, made obscene gestures and swore at the bus driver who then ran into the cyclist, causing him to fall off his bike. The bus driver stayed on the bus for nine minutes before disembarking, despite other passengers rushing to provide first aid assistance, and took pictures of the bike before checking on the cyclist.

At a disciplinary hearing on the driver was dismissed for gross misconduct. The tribunal said it had “little hesitation in concluding that the claimant had been dismissed on the basis of his conduct” and rejected the claimant’s suggestion that a final written warning would have been a more appropriate sanction given his long tenure at the company.

The Judge said: “The respondent had a genuine belief that the claimant had acted in a dangerous and unacceptable manner, and given the nature of the claimant’s duties where he worked unsupervised and was required to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users, the decision to dismiss the claimant was a reasonable one.”

The tribunal concluded that the driver had been dismissed solely as a consequence of the incident, that the respondent had followed a fair procedure in relation to the claimant’s dismissal and that the dismissal had been within the band of reasonable responses.

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