A bus driver who was unfairly dismissed following a crash in Onchan has been awarded a £60,000 payout by an employment tribunal.
Robert Corrin was fired by the DoI after the accident which saw a bus roll down a hill and crash into a house in Onchan on July 28, 2018. However the investigation into his dismissal was found to have been flawed by the tribunal.
The tribunal, chaired by Douglas Stewart, had already ruled in favour of Mr Corrin, however as the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on the settlement, the tribunal was tasked with deciding upon the award of compensation.
In reaching its decision on compensation, the tribunal panel again stated that the original decision by Director of Transport Ian Longworth was ‘correct on the information placed before him and therefore, as previously decided by this Tribunal, a finding of gross misconduct was justified (although had Mr Longworth been properly briefed, such a finding would have been impossible to justify)’.
The panel agreed that Mr Corrin, who was a well thought of and popular member of staff, was entitled to a basic award of £4,816 plus loss of earnings, lost pension benefits, loss of statutory rights and loss of free bus travel totalling £415,210.36. However following the imposition of the statutory cap of £56,000 on the compensation award plus the adding of the basic award, give a final total award of £60,816.
Mr Corrin had been fired for gross misconduct for accidently permitting his bus to run away on a hill. He had not applied the handbrake but had relied on what was known as the hold-brake. This was sufficient to hold the bus safe on a hill unless, as happened, the driver turns off the electrics by using the isolator-switch. However it transpired that drivers were not given training on this and this was a commonly done thing amongst bus drivers.
Following an internal investigation, Mr Corrin was dismissed, with his appeal being rejected by Mr Longworth. However the tribunal had heard that not only was proper training not given to drivers as to when to use the hold-brake and why it shouldn’t be relied upon. It had also ruled that ‘the dismissal was unfair because of the inadequate investigations that had been made and the flawed procedure followed’.
And added: ‘On a proper investigation, facts would have been found which would have put the circumstances of the bus running away into a fair and proper perspective.’
This included that Mr Longworth and his deputy Ian Bates ‘had been unaware of the common practice of drivers to use the switch in the mornings before setting off in the buses’.