Ernest Wardlow ?v- Translink (281/IT13)

17 April 2014

Ernest Wardlow ?v- Translink (281/IT13) unfair dismissal case

Ernest Wardlow –v- Translink (281/IT13)

The Claimant in this case has been employed as a Bus Driver until a road traffic accident occurred on 14 August 2011. The Claimant was driving a double-decker bus over the AlbertBridge Road in Belfast when the Claimant sustained a blackout, subsequently regarded as a faint. The double-decker bus overturned and a significant number of passengers sustained injuries.

The Claimant attended his GP and Occupational Health stated that the Claimant was fit to return to the work place to undertake fuelling and cleaning duties as early as 13 September 2011. However, the Claimant sustained a further episode of loss of consciousness on 13 September 2011 in the works canteen and he commenced a period of sick leave on 19 September 2011. The Claimant stated that he believed his medication prescribed in August 2009 was responsible for his blackouts.

Mr Wardlow was reissued with his PCV license by the Driver and Vehicle Agency. However, Translink did not allow him to return to his duties and he was redeployed as a cleaner.He brought a claim that he had been unfairly dismissed from his post of Bus Driver.

The Tribunal concluded that the Claimant had been unilaterally redeployed to a significantly different post from his old job and this amounted to an unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights (NI) Order. The Tribunal concluded that this dismissal was automatically and substantively unfair, however this was not based on any aspect of disability discrimination.The employer argued that there had been no dismissal as he had been redeployed with the same employer. The Claimant was awarded loss of salary to the date of Hearing (based on the difference in the rate of his previous pay as a driver and his pay as a cleaner) and future loss of 2 years together with a statutory uplift giving him a total of £37,587.50.

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