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End of the line for Luas driver caught working wife's taxi

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Driver’s contract did not allow for ‘moonlighting’

Driver’s contract did not allow for ‘moonlighting’

Driver’s contract did not allow for ‘moonlighting’

Luas operator Transdev has sacked one of its drivers after finding he was "moonlighting" as a taxi driver in his wife's licensed vehicle.

In response to a tip-off, Transdev hired a private investigator who placed the driver under surveillance over two evenings.

He observed the Luas employee accepting a number of fares and also hailed him down to become a passenger in his cab, paying a €5 fare.

Misconduct

After an internal investigation and disciplinary process, the unnamed Luas driver was sacked for gross misconduct after two internal appeals, including one to Transdev's managing director, failed.

In dismissing the driver, Transdev found the moonlighting to be gross misconduct, as it viewed the additional demands placed on the driver's time as a threat to his capacity to carry out his highly responsible role.

Transdev also pointed out that the driver's contract of employment contained explicit exclusion of moonlighting work.

In response, the Luas driver sued for unfair dismissal.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) found that the dismissal was fair, upholding Transdev's decision.

The driver said he did not know how many times he had driven his wife's taxi.

"It was really ad hoc, so I would just help her out. No set criteria," he said.

He added that he did not collect any fares, and that these would be forwarded to his wife later.

The Luas driver did not accept that his conduct was a potential challenge to his capacity to discharge his duties with Transdev in a safe manner.

He told the WRC that what happened should be viewed as a '"minor infringement".

The driver claimed the tip-off was "malicious" and possibly written by another Luas employee to cause him damage.

WRC adjudication officer Pat Brady said the manner in which the matter came to the employer's attention was "suspicious indeed".

"Ultimately, this does not matter," Mr Brady added."The respondent has a duty to apply its own rules once any alleged breach of them comes to its attention and regardless of the motives of any person doing so."

The driver can appeal the decision to the Labour Court. Transdev declined to comment on the WRC ruling.


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