Driver for high-profile charity sacked after he left van outside pub overnight
A driver for a high-profile charity was sacked after he parked a van with the charity’s logo outside a pub overnight.
The van was recovered the following day from the car park of the pub in Ballyfermot after the worker telephoned colleagues to request them to come and collect it.
However, at the opening of business on the following Monday, the charity made inquiries into the incident.
The worker was suspended on full pay from May 26, 2016, and an investigation process then commenced.
The following month, as the result of a disciplinary meeting, he was dismissed.
The man sued for unfair dismissal at the Workplace Relations Commission, but the WRC found that the decision to sack him was reasonable. No parties were named in the case.
According to the WRC’s report, throughout the disciplinary process the worker was unhelpful and indeed aggressive towards some of the managers involved.
The charity claimed he even threatened to call to some of the female managers’ homes.
In oral evidence at the WRC hearing, the charity said the apparent parking of the vehicle for an extended period in the pub car park “was unacceptable”.
It emphasised the importance of public image and policies in an era where voluntary contributions to charities are increasingly under scrutiny.
The charity also argued that the effective absence of a company vehicle for over 24 hours was completely unacceptable.
In his submission, the worker maintained that he had been subject to an unfair investigation and had been dismissed for taking a vehicle home.
He said this was common and had only been done to expedite work routines the following day.
He claimed he had received an urgent call regarding his father being suddenly hospitalised and that the only way he could immediately get to assist his mother and take her to the hospital was by using the company van that he was driving when he received the call.
The WRC adjudication officer noted: “A female manager had become frightened by suggestions that the complainant would call to her home address.
“At the adjudication hearing, the general demeanour and behaviour of the complainant did nothing to convince me that this allegation was untrue.”
The officer found: “The dismissal decision was in the band of reasonableness for an employer in the charity/voluntary sector concerned. The claim for unfair dismissal was not well founded and is dismissed.”