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Dismissal of Bus Driver seen using a mobile phone was fair

04 June 2015 #Employment

In the case of Ruparell v East London Bus & Coach Co Ltd [2015] ET/3201040/2014 the dismissal of a bus driver was found to be fair.

Ruparell had parked his bus, and the engine was off with no passengers on board. He used his mobile phone to set an alarm, and then fell asleep thinking that the alarm had been set. He woke abruptly, found that he had not set the alarm correctly and was late for his scheduled departure. He started the bus engine with the phone still in his hand, and then whilst the bus was moving he took both hands off the wheel to put the phone in his pocket.

The company had a very clear and strict policy on the use of mobile phones whilst driving, which included a ban on the visible presence of phones in the cab area. Ruparell was dismissed.

The dismissal was found to be fair. There was a very clear policy which had been communicated to all employees, and Ruparell had not only breached this by having a phone visibly present in the cab area, but had briefly driven with no hands on the steering wheel. This dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses.

This case is a good reminder of having a clearly communicated policy which sets out to employees what is and is not acceptable. 


Kathy Daniels

Forbury People Consultant

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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