OK to sack speeding bus driver

Last updated 08:21 17/02/2014

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A bus driver who was sacked after complaints including that he refused to let a passenger use the toilet, was justifiably dismissed, the Employment Relations Authority has ruled.

Roger Heaslip was employed as a driver by Hayward Coachlines in November 2012 and by the beginning of March 2013 was operating the company's Nakedbus northern service.

However, only days later he found his name had been taken off the roster and he was asked to attend a disciplinary meeting on March 8.

Company bosses presented Heaslip with "a parade of very serious complaints about inappropriate treatment of passengers and dangerous and/or reckless driving of one of their vehicles" the ERA decision said.

They asked for the driver's comments on five complaints emailed in by the public, including one which alleged he had refused to allow a young woman to go to the toilet, resulting in her having to urinate on the bus.

Hayward Coachlines told the ERA Heaslip had admitted the wrongdoing at the disciplinary meeting and blamed his behaviour on "personal issues".

"Subsequent to the dismissal, Mr Heaslip sent a text message . . . appearing to regret the actions which led to his dismissal," the ruling stated.

The company also had evidence of 400 speeding events logged by the bus's GPS system and a police complaint, which they did not put before the driver.

At the ERA hearing in December, Heaslip denied he had acknowledged his errors and claimed he had not been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

But authority member James Crichton said his evidence was "inconsistent" and ruled in favour of the employer.

"It seems apparent that a good and fair employer, presented with admissions by the subject staff member could conclude that dismissal was the only viable outcome," he said.

There was some debate over why Heaslip had been allowed to drive coaches twice in the week after he was sacked.

The authority concluded the only explanation was that Hayward Coachlines had felt sorry for their former employee because they had left him "out of work and therefore short of money".

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- Fairfax Media

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