Sunday 23 April 2017

Bus driver with fainting condition wants job back

Claire McKevitt leaving court after the opening day of the High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Claire McKevitt leaving court after the opening day of the High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A bus driver who involuntarily retired because it was alleged she could possibly pass out at the wheel due to a health condition wants to be reinstated, the High Court heard.

Claire McKevitt (38), who was attached to the Phibsboro depot of Dublin Bus, alternatively wants to be compensated for unfair dismissal.

The court heard she has a condition called Vasovagal Syncope, which can make a person prone to fainting, especially in stressful situations.

Dublin Bus says driving a bus in Dublin is a stressful occupation and it has to be sure there is no risk to its driver, passengers or the public.

Ms McKevitt says she was cleared to return to commercial driving work in 2014 in a report from the falls and blackout unit of St James's Hospital in Dublin.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal had found she was unfairly dismissed and awarded her €17,000.

Dublin Bus appealed that decision and the Circuit Court also found unfair dismissal but reduced the award to €10,000.

The Circuit Court heard she joined Dublin Bus in 2007 but two years later she began to experience health difficulties.

She had over 200 days of sick leave between July 2009 and February 2012 and then went on permanent sick leave until April 2014 when she was retired.

That unit ultimately recommended she could return to work but the Dublin Bus chief medical officer (CMO) recommended she should not be allowed to return to driving duties from April 2014.

The bus company has now asked the High Court to overturn the Circuit Court decision of unfair dismissal.

The hearing continues before Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh.

Irish Independent

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