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Ministerial driver sacked over expense claims has unfair dismissal case rejected by WRC

The case was brought when the driver had his contract terminated after providing insufficient proof for his expenses.

File photo
File photo
Image: Rollingnews

A MINISTERIAL DRIVER who alleged that he was unfairly dismissed after not providing sufficient proof for his expenses has had his claim rejected by the Workplace Relations Commission.

The driver, who worked for a number of departments on fixed-term contracts for six years, brought the case after his most recent contract was terminated in November 2017.

The termination of his contract came after the department said he had not complied with rules on travel and subsistence by providing insufficient information to support his expense claims.

However, the driver alleged that he was treated in an unfavourable manner compared to permanent employees when he was dismissed, while also claiming that he was entitled to a contract of indefinite duration.

In October 2017, the driver was invited to attend a meeting with department officials, after being warned that his contract contained a six-month probationary period.

Two days later, he was informed by the department that his contract was being terminated, effective three weeks later, based on his insufficient expense claims.

The decision was questioned by the driver’s union, who claimed he was entitled to a contract of indefinite duration, but also said he would adhere to all regulations and procedures regarding his expenses in future.

However, these claims were dismissed by the department, who said it would uphold its decision to terminate the driver’s contract.

In response to the driver’s claims, the department also told the WRC that it was under no obligation to give him a permanent contract.

It quoted the driver’s contract of employment, dated June 2017, which said that his appointment was to “a temporary, unestablished position in the civil service”, which would have ended on the day that the Minster was no longer in office.

The department also said that the driver had a “unique position” in the civil service, and as there was no permanent employee to whom he could be compared, it had no case to answer regarding the driver’s claim that he was treated unfairly.

In its findings, the WRC said the driver failed to establish an employee to whom he could be compared, and that his complaint that he was entitled to a contract of indefinite duration was not well founded.

It also said the driver accepted that no complaint under the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 – 2015 had been lodged with the WRC at the hearing, and dismissed his claims.

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