Mr Sam Beech was employed by Lothian Buses as a Bus Driver until he was dismissed on 27th September 2019 for hitting a cyclist.
Mr Beech had been driving his bus on 21st September 2019 when a cyclist hit his outside mirror. Mr Beech sounded his horn which then led the cyclist to move in front of the bus whilst swearing and making obscene gestures. Following this, the bus then hit the cyclist and he fell from his bike. Mr Beech called the emergency services and the Respondent’s control room however he did not disembark from the vehicle for 9 minutes and, even when he did, he proceeded to take pictures of the bicycle prior to checking the welfare of the cyclist.
An investigation meeting was held on 23rd September 2019 during which an accident report was completed, and Mr Beech was suspended for careless and reckless driving. He was subsequently dismissed on 27th September 2019, a decision which was upheld on appeal. Mr Beech argued that the cyclist had been under the influence of alcohol and that he did not have lights on his bike. Lothian Buses did not wait for the police report before making their decision, but Mr Beech argued that the police deemed he was not blameworthy for the accident.
It was noted by the Employment Tribunal that Lothian Buses had failed to contact the police during the investigation, it was found that the dismissal was fair in the circumstances and that Mr Beech had been dismissed for his conduct. Mr Beech argued that a final written warning would have been an appropriate sanction, but the Employment Tribunal did not accept that argument and deemed that the dismissal was within the band of reasonable responses. It was concluded by the Tribunal that “The respondent had a genuine belief that the claimant had acted in a dangerous and unacceptable manner and given the nature of the claimant’s duties where he worked unsupervised and was required to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users, the decision to dismiss the claimant was a reasonable one.”
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