Dismissal fair

By: Amie Hickland

A case which saw a driver dismissed for not picking up a child has been justified by the FWC recently

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has upheld an employer’s "No child is Left Behind" policy after an incident which resulted in the dismissal of a driver.

The driver was dismissed for refusing to let a school aged child board a bus, according to Australian Public Transport Industrial Association (APTIA) National Industrial Relations Manager Ian Macdonald.

He says the child was at a bus stop on a Sunday and unable to pay the driver a fare.

The child was refused entry to the vehicle and then damaged the bus with his skateboard.

CCTV footage reviewed at the depot revealed the incident to management and the driver as subsequently dismissed as he was in breach of the "No child is Left Behind" policy, of which the driver was aware of.

The FWC has found the employer was justified in the dismissal.

Macdonald says the incident is significant for operators and drivers.

"If it had gone the other way, it would have effectively overturned most State Government positions in relation to their school travel schemes," he says.

The driver was an employee of Transit Australia Group’s (TAG) Sunbus operation on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Sunbus had a clear policy outlining the need for drivers to let any school-aged student ride a bus regardless of whether or not they hold a bus pass or cash.

If in doubt, drivers are to call the depot for further instruction.

"There are a bunch of old-time bus drivers who were never happy with this modern policy," he says.

"[Sunbus] had made it quite clear to all of the drivers that children of school age… if they didn’t have a bus pass or they didn’t have the fare – they should travel on the bus anyway.

"You should never leave a child of school age behind."

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