Thursday 19 July 2018

NCT worker sacked for testing his own car is awarded €35,000

The Applus worker was sacked for testing his own vehicle
The Applus worker was sacked for testing his own vehicle

Gordon Deegan

A senior National Car Test (NCT) worker sacked after testing his own car has been awarded €35,000 for unfair dismissal.

In 2013, the firm that operates the NCT contract, Applus Car Testing Ltd, sacked Richard Godsland for testing his own vehicle in March 2012.

At a hearing over two days in Dublin earlier this year, Mr Godsland denied he was ever informed that testing his own vehicle would result in his dismissal. The Employment Appeals Tribunal found that Mr Godsland's action had the potential to embarrass Applus and to undermine its reputation if his action came to the attention of the external auditors.

It stated that Applus had no option but to take serious issue with Mr Godsland's action.

The determination added that however, for more than a year, Applus "either remained unaware or overlooked the claimant's action. In the Tribunal's view, this delay undermines the decision to dismiss the claimant".

The EAT found Mr Godsland "continued to work for the respondent and no further issues concerning his behaviour arose".

In all of the circumstances, it ruled the dismissal of Mr Godsland was unfair. He was awarded his €35,000.

Mr Godsland worked out of Applus's NCT centre at Portlaoise. He was employed as a vehicle inspector in June 2003 and promoted to Team Leader in April 2005.

Employees are allowed one free car test each year. Applus told the hearing that it is forbidden to test one's own vehicle or one belonging to family members. On June 21, 2013 the Applus Regional Manager wrote to Mr Godsend inviting him to an investigative meeting concerning his testing of his own car.

According to the EAT report: "There was no explanation of how the matter came to his attention or why this action was being taken more than a year after the incident occurred."

The EAT recorded that during the interval Mr Godsland "continued to work and no further incidents arose".

A meeting was held on July 8, 2013 and Mr Godsland accepted he had reassigned his car to be tested by himself in "an effort to get things started early".

He was suspended following a second meeting and his employment terminated from September 27, 2013. Applus yesterday declined to comment on the outcome of the EAT case.

Irish Independent

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