Monday 23 July 2018

Abused Luas inspector tried to punch customer

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A Luas fares inspector subjected to an unacceptable level of racial abuse by passengers was fired after he tried to punch a young man.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer Penelope McGrath found that on the night of August 24, 2015, the fares inspector "was being subjected to an unacceptable level of racial and other abuse".

Ms McGrath said "a cohort of the passengers were behaving in an appalling way".

However, Ms McGrath said the difficulty from the fares inspector's point of view was that he could provide no evidence to suggest the male he was seen on CCTV throwing a punch at "was part of this general behaviour".

"Even if he was, I cannot see how an employer can countenance an employee going on the offensive and throwing the first punch."

Ms McGrath said that the Luas firm had no option but to dismiss the fares inspector.

She said: "Termination was the only option". The man had brought an unfair dismissal action to the WRC but Ms McGrath said that the CCTV footage of the incident "is objectively persuasive".

"Once an employee whose job it is to interface with the public every day has been shown to allow himself to get so riled up as to take a swing at a member of the public, the employer is bound to question the employee's suitability to perform the job in which he has been trained," she said.

The inspector had been employed with the Luas since 2008, where he worked hard before his dismissal in November 2015 for gross misconduct as a result of the Cowper station incident on Dublin's southside.

The dismissal letter told the fares inspector he was fired for engaging in actual or threatening physical violence against a passenger.

During his time with the Luas, the man had previously taken sick leave as a result of being assaulted by a passenger and was granted a line transfer on his return to work.

Irish Independent

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