Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Bus driver sacked after refusing to let woman use toilet

Photo / File / Thinkstock
Photo / File / Thinkstock

A Naked Bus driver who allegedly refused to let a young woman go to the toilet - forcing her to urinate on the bus - was sacked over his treatment of passengers and dangerous driving.

Roger Heaslip was dismissed from Hayward Coachlines in March last year after five complaints from customers of the company's Naked Bus northern service.

The allegations were brought before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) when Mr Heaslip raised a personal grievance.

Among the complaints was that he refused to allow a young woman to go to the toilet, which the authority said "resulted in her having to urinate on the bus".

Hayward Coachlines gave evidence that it was faced with a parade of very serious complaints about Mr Heaslip's inappropriate treatment of passengers and dangerous or reckless driving.

The company said Mr Heaslip accepted the allegations at a disciplinary meeting, and explained his wrongdoing was due to "personal issues".

Hayward said it had no alterative but to terminate his employment, which Mr Heaslip had accepted was the only appropriate response.

Other issues about Mr Heaslip' performance were raised but never put to him.

Police had written a letter of complaint about his driving, while GPS data from the coaches showed he had gone over the speed limit about 400 times.

However, only the five customer complaints had led to the decision to dismiss him.

Mr Heaslip told the ERA he was not given a proper opportunity to respond to the allegations against him, and denied they were true. He argued the company did not undertake a proper investigation and he was treated unfairly.

He also alleged the company acted improperly by giving him further work after his dismissal - including driving a coach from the South Island to Auckland, and transporting a group of elderly patrons.

But the ERA rejected Mr Heaslip's grievance, saying it preferred the company's evidence.

It said a good and fair employer was entitled to dismiss Mr Heaslip when faced with his "frank admissions of wrongdoing in relation to each of the allegations made by a series of complainants".

The ERA also brushed aside the issue of the extra work, saying the company had "felt sorry for Mr Heaslip" because he was out of work and short of money.

- APNZ

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