Tribunal rejects iPad using bus driver claim for unfair dismissal

ourcoachesAn employment tribunal in Ireland has rejected a claim by a coach driver who says he was unfairly sacked for using an iPad while driving. CCTV captured Sean Purcell steering with his elbows while driving at 100kph (62mph) on 22 July 2013.

The driver told the Employment Appeals Tribunal that the coach he was driving had no passengers on board and that its radio was broken. He continued by claiming that he was listening to the radio on his iPad and could not see why his employer, Aircoach, had a problem with this as he was not talking on a mobile telephone. 

A passing motorist who spotted Mr Purcell driving and using the iPad on the M50 Dublin orbital motorway made a complaint to Aircoach. A company driving-trainer checked the video footage of the drive and said he was absolutely appalled. The company’s operations manager told the tribunal that driving while using an iPad was unsafe and a danger to other road users. 

Aircoach at first suspended Mr Purcell while they carried out an enquiry. At a meeting held five days after the incident, he claimed that he was in control of the bus but was fired anyway. The dismissal was later confirmed by Allen Parker, Aircoach’s managing director.

Mr Purcell alleged the sacking was unfair. In its decision released earlier this week, the tribunal stated that Aircoach had followed the correct procedures in sacking the driver. The statement noted that by using the iPad and driving at 100kph Mr Purcell had endangered other people.



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