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Repeated Speeding in Company Vehicle; A Valid reason for Dismissal

Repeated Speeding in Company Vehicle; A Valid reason for Dismissal

The dismissal of an employee of Coca-Cola Euro Pacific Partners Australia Pty Ltd for repeated speeding in a company vehicle was upheld as a valid dismissal by the Fair Work Commission.

The employee worked as a technician and was required to use the company vehicle to perform maintenance, installation, servicing and quality control of Coca-Cola’s equipment in NSW and was required to drive long distances to service clients.

In 2020, Coca-Cola introduced new workplace policies focussed on safe driving practices and introduced a new speed monitoring system called “Logbookme”.

The employee received various communications from Coca-Cola regarding the introduction of the new system and how serious they would treat speeding events going forward. The employee also received training on how the “logbookme” system would operate.

Between March 2021 and December 2022, the new system recorded 10 different speeding events where the employee was speeding over the legal limit by 9-18kms. The employee was called to a show cause meeting and later dismissed for breaching Coca-Cola’s safe driving policies.

In considering the unfair dismissal case, the Deputy President of the FWC found:

  • The technician’s ongoing, repeated and deliberate failure to abide by Coca-Cola’s policies rightfully eroded its confidence in the technician’s ability to safely perform the role;
  • As the role required the technician to engage in extensive driving, it was reasonable that Coca-Cola had lost confidence in his ability to safely do so, and dismissal was the only available disciplinary outcome in respect of misconduct; and
  • Coca-Cola had given the technician more than reasonable opportunity to correct his behaviour through education, and informal and formal counselling. It was clear the safety breaches were a valid reason for dismissal.

(Dang v Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Australia Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 2097.)

This case exemplifies the importance of having key workplace policies in place that are customised to the organisation’s individual requirements.

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