Employment Tribunal finds dismissal of Dundee bus driver fair

MoJAn Employment Tribunal has ruled against a Dundee bus driver after he made an Employment Tribunal claim last year.

Mr Ross McMahon made the Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal after he was sacked by a major bus company last year for making a rude gesture at another motorist on 10 April 2013.

On the day in question, Mr McMahon was driving his bus for National Express Dundee through the city. A Volkswagen drove in front of Mr McMahon’s bus, causing him to brake sharply. He could then be seen on CCTV to have made a number of rude hand gestures towards the woman who was driving the Volkswagen. The woman complained to National Express Dundee and an investigation was undertaken, in which it was determined that Mr McMahon had made these gestures. Upon being confronted with this, Mr McMahon apologised unreservedly and offered to write a letter of apology to the woman. He described his behaviour as “a momentary madness” that would never be repeated but was dismissed for gross misconduct after a 20-year career at National Express Dundee. He subsequently made an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, alleging that the mitigating circumstances in his case should render the dismissal as outside of the range of reasonable responses.

The case came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this month. The Employment Tribunal, chaired by Employment Judge Ian McFatridge, held that Mr McMahon had not been unfairly dismissed as his dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses. He further stated that the panel may have been persuaded to exercise leniency because of the driver’s length of service and sincere apology but that the Tribunal was not allowed to substitute its own view for that of the employer, and that Mr McMahon’s guilt was clear from the company’s findings.