A postman in Glasgow was sacked after running up a huge £2,500 taxi bill on his Royal Mail account. He claimed that he was unfairly dismissed but his appeal failed. Thomas McCafferty used taxis on days when he couldn’t get a lift to work. However, he was only allowed to use the taxi service 4-5 times a year and only on days when he gave up a day off to come into work. He overuse of the taxi service was considered to be gross misconduct and he was sacked accordingly.
McCafferty sued for wrongful dismissal but was denied compensation after a decision was made by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The postman had worked for Royal Mail for almost two decades and was given the details to the taxi account when he was asked to work on his day off in September 2009. However, he abused the privilege and continued to use taxis to work when he couldn’t get a lift from the Royal Mail vans that passed by his house.
According to the appeal judge, Lady Smith, McCafferty would wait for a van to pass his house in the morning and if it did not, he would come back inside and phone for a taxi using his name but the company account. In the 13 months after he was given account details, the postman used the taxi service 87 times which cost almost £2,500. By the end, he was using a taxi virtually every day.
When he was questioned by his employer in October 2010, he claimed that he didn’t know he had done anything wrong after admitting using taxis to go to work. However, Terry Gibb, the delivery sector manager, said he didn’t believe McCafferty’s claims. In fact, he believes that McCafferty knew all along and tried to hide it by claiming he travelled to work in a van and failing to mention the fact he used a taxi when giving excuses for being late.
An employment tribunal initially dismissed his claims for compensation and now the appeal tribunal has done the same. In closing, Lady Smith stated there was evidence that Royal Mail had grounds for believing their former employee used their taxi account without permission and also tried to conceal his misbehaviour.