Friday 23 March 2018

Driver who delivered faeces in a medicines container to chemist by mistake is fired

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gordon Deegan

A delivery man was sacked after defecating into a medicines container on his morning run and later delivering the offensive item to a pharmacy by mistake.

John Flood has failed in his unfair dismissal action against his former employer, Limerick Pharma Logistics, at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (Eat).

The Eat found the company's decision to sack Mr Flood in November 2014 was an appropriate sanction.

Mr Flood was sacked following the incident on April 24, 2014, that arose from him being unable to control his bowel movements after making his first delivery of the day in the north Cork village of Kildorney.

Mr Flood was en route to his next customer when he "got taken short for a toilet", and relieved himself of a bowel movement into an empty blue tote that was in the back of his van. Totes are hard plastic containers used by pharmacy suppliers to deliver medicines and Mr Flood said he intended to deal with the contents of the tote when he retuned home and completed his morning run.

However he "got caught up in other activities" and forgot to deal with it and left the offending tote in the van for the evening run when he made the "awful mistake" of delivering the tote containing his faeces to a Limerick city pharmacy.

Mr Flood also acted as a director and shareholder of Limerick Pharma Logistics, which delivered drugs on behalf of its only customer, a pharmaceutical firm referred to in the Eat decision report as 'U'.

Shocked staff at the pharmacy that received the tote contacted the operations manager of U, named only as RT in the report, after getting an "unpleasant smell" from the container.

The pharmacy was U's second biggest customer and the contract with the pharmacy was worth a lot of money to U.

RT travelled to the pharmacy and opened the tote with a pharmacist there to find what Mr Flood had left behind.

Mr Flood was alerted to what had been found and he phoned RT to apologise and said that "he could not believe that he had made an awful mistake".

Mr Flood was suspended immediately without pay and Limerick Pharma Logistics appointed a HR specialist to carry out an investigation. At a meeting with his employer, Mr Flood said that he suffered from colitis, an inflammation of the colon. He said that it was under control.

However he and his wife were going through a separation and that was a source of stress which could have been a mitigating factor.

The Eat found his sacking was an appropriate sanction.

Irish Independent

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