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Bus driver awarded £2 after employer vetoes companion

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A judge has awarded a bus driver just £2 in compensation after his employer vetoed a companion at a disciplinary appeal hearing.

Mr Gnahoua was dismissed after he was caught looking at an IPad while his bus was in motion.

He appealed the decision and told his employer that he would like to be represented by two brothers who had formed the PTSC union, which the claimant was now a member of.

The employer rejected this request, telling Mr Gnahoua that both brothers were banned from representing its staff at hearings.

He said the brothers had previously displayed “dishonesty” and “threatening behaviour” towards members of staff.

One of the brothers, a former employee of the company, had himself been dismissed for “harassment and intimidation” of a shop steward.

Mr Gnahoua claimed that he had been denied the right to be accompanied at his disciplinary appeal hearing, to which the tribunal accepted.

The tribunal awarded the sum of just £2 to the employee because the employer had “strong grounds” for being unhappy with the choice of companion.

Under case law, the choice of companion should be the employee’s.

The Tribunal said in its judgment: “Like all strict rules, there are policy reasons for its imposition which can sometimes lead to hard cases.

“As a general rule it is undesirable for an employer to choose the employee’s companion or (which is often very much the same thing) to exercise a veto over his choice.

“In the present case it is hard to criticise the actions of the respondent and we make no criticism. They have followed the Acas code of practice and have only sought to interfere in the choice of companion on strong grounds.”