Employment Tribunal rules bus driver sacked over minor traffic offence was unfairly dismissed

An Employment Tribunal has ruled that a UK bus driver who was sacked over a minor road traffic offence was unfairly dismissed by his employer.

Mr Abdul Jabbar, Dudley, worked for National Express West Midlands for many years and had an “exemplary driving record,” according to reports.

But the 59-year-old, who had previously “been free of any accidents or driving penalties for some 32 years,” was dismissed by his employer after being caught on CCTV running a red light in October 2015.

The disgruntled bus driver, who originates from Pakistan, challenged his ex-employer on grounds of unfair dismissal, alongside claims of racial and age discrimination.

He told an Employment Tribunal that a younger driver of British heritage would not have been subjected to the same treatment – pointing to a separate case involving a fellow National Express West Midlands employee who had committed a similar driving offence, yet received little more than a ‘final warning’ from the company.

The longstanding bus driver, who had “worked for the respondent without disciplinary taint for 37 years,” accused the company of attempting to force an older employee out of a job.

Judge Glyn Lloyd said that there was insufficient evidence provided to support Mr Jabbar’s claims of age and racial discrimination.

However, the Employment Tribunal ruled that Mr Jabbar had been unfairly dismissed over “a momentary lapse of concentration”.

He added that the former bus driver should be entitled to a compensation pay-out – the amount of which is to be decided at a later date.

In his ruling, Judge Glyn Lloyd said: “The claimant is a bus driver of [otherwise] exemplary record.

“What he did was – and we accept it was – a five-second momentary lapse of concentration on his part by a driver who sits in the cab facing the unpredictable environment of busy city roads eight to ten hours each day.

“Considering the totality of the evidence, we find that his summary dismissal in these circumstances was disproportionate.”

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a partner in the Employment team of Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. As an Employment Relations Specialist, she advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. She joined the firm in 2011 after training and qualifying at Vizards Wyeth Solicitors in London, where she practiced employment law and commercial litigation.