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London bus driver loses unfair dismissal claim after leaving passengers waiting as he grabbed a hot drink and ran a red light

In the case of Mr I Brown v Arriva London (North) Ltd Ian Brown claimed he was unfairly dismissed and racially discriminated against, saying his employer Arriva London North breached its contract and unlawfully deducted his wages. However, his case was rejected at a Watford Employment Tribunal after it was heard on February 22 and 23 this year.

In the case of Mr I Brown v Arriva London (North) Ltd Ian Brown claimed he was unfairly dismissed and racially discriminated against, saying his employer Arriva London North breached its contract and unlawfully deducted his wages.

However, his case was rejected at a Watford Employment Tribunal after it was heard on February 22 and 23 this year.

Mr Brown, who drove the 243 route across Wood Green, Hackney, Farringdon and to Waterloo, arrived seven minutes late to take over the bus on March 13, 2020.

The tribunal heard he left the engine on and went to the café to use the toilet and collect a hot drink.

CCTV footage then showed Mr Brown flicking through documents inviting him to a disciplinary hearing while driving the bus. During this time he left his indicator flashing when it should have been off and also jumped a red light.

A recording played revealed that when asked why the bus departed late, the claimant said: “It is against my contract. I’m not driving this bus for the rest of the day.”

Mr Brown claimed he was being bullied by the controllers and said: “Are you saying I have no rights to a toilet break or to be paid while off sick?”

The claimant had been working as a driver since 2015 at the Tottenham garage and had an extensive disciplinary record for issues including attendance and abusive language towards an official.

His refusal to drive was considered a self-suspension and during a disciplinary meeting in August he was dismissed for unsatisfactory attendance over a 12-month period.

Employment Judge Rebecca Tuck ruled: “I am satisfied that dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses.

“In any event, I would have been satisfied that any procedural defects would have made no difference to the final outcome.”

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