€18k for loss assessor sacked after spate of car accidents
An accident-prone loss assessor who crashed her car into the vehicle of a man whose house was on fire has been awarded almost €18,000 for unfair dismissal.
The crash involving Linda Lydon at the scene of a Dublin house fire in December 2008 was one of a litany of car accidents she had been in.
It resulted in her employers, Cleary's Insurance Services sacking her in December 2010.
However, an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found that Ms Lydon's car accidents did not amount to gross misconduct and that she was unfairly dismissed.
It awarded her a total of €17,908. In evidence at the hearing held in Dublin, the EAT members were told that Ms Lydon was despatched by her office manager on December 18, 2008, to distribute company brochures to the owners of a row of houses which were on fire.
The EAT report on the incident stated that the area was busy with emergency services and journalists covering the fire.
However, having distributed the brochures, Ms Lydon was attempting the leave the area when she reversed her car into the car belonging to a man whose house was ablaze.
The householder's son had witnessed the accident and accused Ms Lydon of trying to leave the area.
However, Ms Lydon disputed this and explained that she had given out several brochures and had given her phone number to a neighbour. The cost of the accident totalled €940 with Ms Lydon paying €500 and her employer paying the remainder.
In October 2010, Ms Lydon had another accident when her car hit a hoarding in a car-park when she veered to avoid a child and the accident had caused minor damage to the bodywork of the vehicle.
Ms Lydon was due to discuss the costs of the October accident on November 11, 2010.
But the meeting was postponed and the following day, she was involved in another accident, this time writing off her car when mounting a median island and crashed into a traffic light that bent over with the impact.
The luckless driver said that she had been going at 40kmh and had slowed down when blinded by the sun rather than braking as she knew there was traffic behind her.
No one was injured in the accident and Ms Lydon was not prosecuted. The tribunal heard she'd also received a total of four penalty points for speeding and for driving whilst using her phone.
Ms Lydon was on a written warning at the time of the November 2010 crash and was dismissed for gross misconduct as a result of the accident on December 12, 2010, losing an internal appeal before the finance director.
The EAT has found that Ms Lydon's behaviour didn't amount to gross misconduct and found that she was unfairly dismissed and awarded her a total of €17,908.