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Employee was Dismissed from Having 62 Speeding Offences over 18 Months

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An employee who was dismissed after having 62 speeding offences over 18 months, applied to the Fair Work Commission alleging that she had been unfairly dismissed from her employment with Coca Cola Euro Pacific Partners. The Fair Work Commission ruled that Coca Cola had acted reasonably and fairly in dismissing the employee after hearing the company treated speeding as a serious WHS contravention.

The worker was employed in the position of Business Development Executive in September 2019. She was provided with a fully maintained company motor vehicle for her role as she was required to visit customers on a daily basis.  The company had safety policies stating that the company takes speeding very seriously and holds safety as a priority for its employees.

In late 2020, the company implemented a new driver safety monitoring system. The system recorded and reported on drivers’ speed against road speed limits where the speed is more than 10% above the designated speed limit. The employee had use of a company vehicle in which a monitoring device was fitted. The monitoring device would notify the drivers to their mobile phone app when a speeding event was recorded.

In February 2021, the company’s CEO sent communication containing a video presentation to all staff titled “Drawing a line in the sand – There is no such thing as safe speeding”. The communication identified that the company did not tolerate unsafe driving behaviour by its staff and attached a copy of the company’s “Managing Driver Behaviour Guidelines”.

Between February 2020 and November 2021, the employee recorded 62 speeding events, including a month in which she had 15 speeding events. Most strikingly, she was caught speeding immediately after she left a meeting during which she was warned about her speeding.

During this period, the employee received various counselling and several formal warnings in relation to her recorded speeding. After the fourth warning letter in July 2021, the employee was made aware that her employment would be at risk if a further speeding event occurred. She was dismissed in January 2022 after 2 speeding events occurred in November 2021.

In considering the employee’s application for unfair dismissal, the Commission determined that:

  • The employee was notified of the valid reason for her dismissal before her employment was terminated.
  • The employee was provided the opportunity to respond to the intended dismissal before her employment was terminated.
  • The company had afforded the employee fair procedural by providing her with various counselling and 4 formal warnings before the dismissal.

Please see Susanna Jean Meijer v Coca Cola Euro Pacific Partners [2022] FWC 1286 (26 May 2022), If you wish to read the full decision.

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