Sacked Driver to Receive Compensation

Sacked Driver to Receive Compensation

A truck driver sacked for urinating outside the entrance to a warehouse will receive around $14,000 in compensation after the Fair Work Commission ruled his employer’s handling of the investigation rendered his dismissal unfair.

The company dismissed the driver after viewing CCTV footage of him relieving himself at the distribution centre gate rather than waiting to enter the toilets inside (he had maintained an unblemished employee record for the previous 4 years).

The company alleged that the driver lied to them when initially asked about the incident. They claimed that his response as well as the need to maintain good relations with the Business they were servicing justified his dismissal. The business they were servicing banned the driver from delivering to them for 3 months.

The Commissioner ruled that the driver’s “unprofessional” and “unacceptable” conduct and failure to adequately explain his actions during the investigation provided the Company with a valid reason to dismiss him.

However, the company’s lack of a “systematic approach” to investigating the driver’s actions — despite the HR manager having 20 years’ experience — meant that it failed to make him aware of the allegations and evidence against him. They also failed to provide him with sufficient opportunity to respond or have a support person present.

Commissioner Bissett said she found neither the HR manager nor anyone from the company met with the driver face-to-face to discuss the incident and its potential consequences, preferring to carry out the interactions with him by phone.

Commissioner Bissett said the company’s failure to meet the driver in person denied him the opportunity to ensure that the HR manager and others were aware of his diabetes (which he had disclosed in his induction paperwork) and the “urinary urgency” which he sometimes suffered from as a result.

Once again the lessons here are to ensure you follow all procedural steps correctly (which HR Central provides to you via our templates) and seek advice to make sure along the way to make sure you are using the correct approach.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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