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Bus driver sacked over alleged HIV threat to manager with blood-filled syringe 


Syringe. Stock image

Syringe. Stock image

Syringe. Stock image

A bus driver alleged to have threatened a manager with a syringe claiming it contained “HIV and it’s for you” has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

An adjudicator ruled that the complaint was “not well founded”.

Workplace Relations Commission adjudication officer Gaye Cunningham accepted the evidence of a manager “that he was 100pc certain that he saw a barrel, syringe and plunger in the complainant’s hand”.

The bus company said he was dismissed followed a heated row with his manager in 2019.

During this, it said the driver who had worked there since 2016 threatened the manager with a syringe.

The manager reported the matter to the gardaí, and they visited the site the following day.

According to the bus company, there was a disciplinary meeting on November 14 2019 regarding another worker, and the driver was there to support the employee.

It said at the end of the meeting, the incident took place where the driver put on a latex glove, and held up the syringe.

A disciplinary meeting took place on November 19, 2019, followed by three other meetings.

It said the driver did not attend. The reasons given included that he was engaged in training for a voluntary organisation and was going on a trip with his wife.

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The company said it had given him enough opportunity to respond to the allegations.

On November 27, 2019, a letter for dismissal was issued and the reason given was gross misconduct and dangerous behaviour, including fighting or physical assault.

An appeal hearing was held the following month, which confirmed the dismissal.

The driver denied he threatened the manager with a syringe and claimed he had a USB key in his hand.

He claimed the manager was extremely aggressive towards him. The driver said he did shout, but not in a threatening way, and put on the latex glove as a force of habit. He said he went to the Gardaí about the matter in which he said he was the victim.

The driver claimed the disciplinary process was unfair as he did not get an opportunity to question witnesses.

Ms Cunningham said the complainant was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct. This followed an incident in which he was alleged to have threatened the manager with a blood-filled syringe.

She said the employer had a genuine belief that the driver behaved in a manner that could be categorised as gross misconduct, and fair disciplinary procedures were followed.

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