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November 28 2018
By Peter Swingler

A long standing journalist, who has worked on major regional newspapers, Peter is a specialist in legal reporting

Bus driver and union activist loses claims

A bus driver and union activist who set up a campaigning Facebook group for 500 other drivers has lost a series of legal claims after being dismissed.

Arriva London South successfully defended legal claims at a London South Employment Tribunal hearing by Tracey Emerson for breach of contract, disability, sex and age discrimination, unlawful deduction of wages, and detriment for trade union membership and for making whistle blowing allegations.

Tribunal Judge Andrews rejected all the claims after accepting the operator’s evidence that she had been fairly dismissed for gross misconduct.

The firm, which employs 330 drivers at the South Croydon garage in London where Ms Emerson worked, accused her of failing to complete vehicle condition reports, known as VCRs.

She said she was going through the menopause at the time, which affected her memory and concentration. She complained she had been subjected to “less favourable treatment” because of her menopause.

The menopause condition prompted her legal claim for disability discrimination.

The Tribunal was told that she was under investigation at the time for both depression and “life change”.

It was also told that in 2011 Ms Emerson set up a Facebook group known as Bus Drivers United, which now has 500 members and is used as a forum for furthering the cause of drivers within the industry. She later sent Arriva’s managing director a letter regarding bus drivers’ pay.

The Tribunal was told that in 2016 a dispute arose at the garage regarding bus route 194, which later led to a ballot “a union campaign which appears to have been successful at least to some degree.”

It was said that in the same year Ms Emerson had been involved in a blameworthy accident in the garage – her first blameworthy incident in the 14 years since she joined the firm.

She blamed a loss of memory and concentration caused by the menopause for the accident.

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