Sacked bus driver loses tri­bunal case

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ADAM HILL AND LIND­SEY HAMIL­TON

A BUS driver who was sacked af­ter call­ing pas­sen­gers a deroga­tory name on so­cial me­dia has failed in a un­fair dis­missal ac­tion.

Den­nis Swadel, of Dochart Ter­race, was em­ployed as a bus driver with Tay­side Pub­lic Trans­port Co Lim­ited — which has traded var­i­ously as Na­tional Ex­press Dundee, Travel Dundee and Xplore Dundee — from April 2013 un­til Novem­ber 2016.

Mr Swadel was given his march­ing or­ders from the firm as one of four em­ploy­ees who were dis­ci­plined fol­low­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lat­ing to posts made on so­cial me­dia.

In Septem­ber last year, sev­eral mem­bers of staff — and one per­son who was not em­ployed by the bus com­pany — en­gaged in a dis­cus­sion on Face­book.

Mr Swadel made 17 con­tri­bu­tions to the dis­cus­sion, in­clud­ing stat­ing: “I pre­fer to call them *****” in re­la­tion to pas­sen­gers.

An­other sub­mis­sion from Mr Swadel was: “When I look mis­er­able it’s nor­mally be­cause I want to kill some *******.”

The three other em­ploy­ees sacked by the firm were later re­in­stated af­ter an ap­peal process.

How­ever, the tri­bunal heard that Elsie Tur­byne — Xplore Dundee’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, who had chaired his in­ter­nal ap­peal over his sack­ing — had been “ap­palled” by his comments.

Mr Swadel didn’t dis­pute the facts of the case at his tri­bunal. How­ever he raised an ac­tion in the be­lief that there had been an “in­con­sis­tency of treat­ment” across the four em­ploy­ees.

An agent act­ing on be­half of Mr Swadel ar­gued that the dis­par­ity in out­comes of the var­i­ous ap­peals ren­dered the dis­missal un­fair.

How­ever, an em­ploy­ment judge dis­missed the claim dur­ing a hear­ing in Dundee.

He said: “This is not a case where pro­ce­dural un­fair­ness is in is­sue. To the con­trary — what is in is­sue is whether by re­fus­ing to re­in­state the claimant the re­spon­dent acted un­fairly, so un­fairly that the claimant’s dis­missal was un­fair.

“The tri­bunal was sat­is­fied that it was rea­son­able for Mrs Tur­byne to reach the de­ci­sion that she did and that the claimant’s dis­missal by the re­spon­dent had not been un­fair.”

Speak­ing to the Tele, Mr Swadel said: “I am happy to put this be­hind me and move on.”

Elsie Tur­byne

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