Tribunal rules driver must pay costs after losing claim

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 Former National Express West Midlands employee sacked for using phone whilst driving ordered to pay £5,000 costs

A Birmingham bus driver has lost a compensation claim against West Midlands Travel Ltd (trading as National Express West Midlands) for unfair dismissal after a tribunal judge said he did not believe he was using a mobile phone whilst driving to hear about an alleged burglary at his home.

Mr Issa Naser, who had driven with West Midlands Travel for almost five years, was also accused by Birmingham employment tribunal judge Mr Peter Rose of threatening a witness at a previous hearing. He was ordered to pay the respondents’ £5,000 costs after they requested £10,000.

The previous hearing had been told Mr Naser was sacked for gross misconduct after sending messages on his mobile phone whilst driving his bus. His offence had been proven by CCTV footage and the tribunal rejected Mr Naser’s compensation claim.

At the latest hearing Mr Edward Nuttman, representing the respondents, said Mr Naser had no prospect of winning his case from the start and said National Express was requesting £10,000 costs.

Mr Naser did not attend the latest hearing after telephoning the tribunal to say he had to take a daughter to hospital.

Mr Rose said Mr Naser had lied at the previous hearing about using the mobile phone in an emergency about a burglary at his home. He said: “Mr Naser has failed to comply with tribunal requests to submit details about his financial situation and he also failed to name the hospital today or seek an adjournment of the hearing. We do not know much about him, therefore, except he appears to have another job and has four children.

“Normally, the tribunal approves a costs claim only in unusual and exceptional circumstances but as Mr Naser lied at the previous hearing and had no reasonable prospects of winning his case the tribunal is awarding £5,000 costs against him instead of the requested £10,000.”