Repairmen unfairly dismissed even though they broke the rules
Two repairmen were unfairly dismissed even though they had broken the terms of their employment contracts by using company vans for personal journeys.
Mr M Genus and Mr M Kelly had worked for more than 20 years for Fortem Solutions Ltd, which provides repair and maintenance services for Birmingham City Council.
Fortem received an anonymous complaint that the two men were using their vans outside work time for their own purposes. It carried out an investigation using tracker devices, which found that Mr Genus visited his mother’s house several times on his way home.
Mr Kelly had also used his van on several occasions to see his son play football and to go shopping.
Both men were dismissed following a disciplinary hearing.
They brought claims of unfair dismissal claiming that the no-personal use policy was vague, and they hadn’t understood it properly. They also claimed they had not been given the opportunity to amend their approach and stop using the vans for personal use.
The Employment Tribunal found in their favour. It accepted that the men had broken company rules but held that the policy was unclear and there were no clear definitions of private and business use.
The company had also failed to properly investigate the case and had not given due consideration to the men’s otherwise good disciplinary record.
For those reasons, the dismissals were unfair.
The judge said compensation would be decided at a separate hearing but added that any figure would be reduced because of the men’s contributory fault, which led to the dismissals. He urged both sides to reach a settlement amicably without the need for a hearing.
Please contact Sorcha Monaghan if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.