ERA backs dismissal of “threatening” bus driver

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The Employment Relations Authority recently found that a bus driver who hit a car, blamed the other driver and then threatened him was justifiably dismissed.

Petiva Tuiloma – the bus driver – took his case to the ERA claiming that he had been unfairly sacked by South Auckland based company Waka Pacific.

However, the ERA found that the dismissal was “within the range of what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances”.

The ERA decision revealed that a member of the public had made a complaint in May after their car was clipped by Tuiloma’s bus as they were driving through central Auckland.

According to the decision, Tuiloma showed no intention of stopping to acknowledge the damage, so the driver stood in front of his bus.

It was alleged that in response, the bus slowly moved forward, lightly hitting the person. It was also claimed that the bus driver opened his door to blame the car driver and call them “crazy”.

Tuiloma was suspended from work while his employer investigated the claims.

Tuiloma was found to have perpetrated serious misconduct by “using his bus in a threatening or intimidating manner” and failing to report the incident.

He denied the allegations, but Waka Pacific was able to use the vehicle’s GPS data to confirm what had occurred.

“The data obtained through the telematics system indicated that the incident as described by the complainant was more likely to have occurred than the description given by Mr Tuiloma,” said ERA member Vicki Campbell.

Tuiloma was dismissed, with the company saying that he had “deliberately operated his bus in a forward direction with a pedestrian in his direct path, placing that person at risk”. 

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