A bus driver who left passengers stranded failed to convince the Fair Work Commission he was unfairly dismissed.
The bus driver claimed his seat belt didn’t work and he was too stressed to continue the bus route. He told passengers he had previously raised safety concerns with his manager and, his manager thought he was “bullshitting”.
He refused to drive the bus or return to the depot. He informed passengers including, school children on the bus “if it’s a short distance please walk” and did not render any assistance to his passengers (school children or otherwise) as to how they might get from their current location to their desired location. He suggested in evidence that it was safer for the passengers to walk, rather than him drive the bus.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC), having reviewed CCTV footage, was unconvinced that the seatbelt, having locked momentarily before releasing on a roundabout, was not working. The employer also gave evidence that the seatbelt was in working order; having tested the seatbelt.
The bus driver had a history of performance issues and had received a second and final warning for leaving a bus unattended, with the keys in the ignition, while a passenger was on board.
The FWC, in the broader context of previous performance issues and written warnings, was satisfied that there was a valid reason for termination.
In dismissing the bus driver’s unfair dismissal application, the FWC highlighted the prudent process followed by the employer including, providing the bus driver with an opportunity to review the CCTV footage and explain his actions.
• This incident, in isolation and in the absence of any previous performance issues, may not have been sufficiently serious to warrant termination; and
• It is important to give employees the opportunity to respond to all evidence in relation to the decision to terminate including, CCTV footage.
Emrah Bilgi v CDC Tullamarine Pty Limited T/A Tullamarine  FWC 290 (14 February 2019)