Citybus driver Au Tat Man was fired from his job in April for violating company regulations.
He filed a case to the labour tribunal seeking wages in lieu of notice and a long-service payment worth HK$174, 000 from Citybus. He was awarded HK$60,000 by the court yesterday, the Oriental Daily reports.
Au started the bus three minutes late because he needed to go to the bathroom. A male passenger, who was not happy with the late start, complained and Au got into an argument with him. Au’s confrontation with the passenger was video-taped and posted on YouTube.
Citybus explained to the court that Au was fired for leaving the driver’s seat without a reason and getting into an argument with a passenger, both of which violated the company’s regulations.
“The customer is always right,” a Citybus manager, who was put in charge of handling the complaint filed against Au, told the court.
However, magistrate Kenneth Chan Ping-chau did not think it was reasonable to fire Au. He said the manager had held a “customer is always right” mentality when investigating the complaint, and did not look into why Au had got into an argument with the passenger.
He also pointed out that in Au’s 17 years of service with Citybus he had not received any complaint about serious misconduct.
Magistrate Chan was also sceptical towards the claim by Citybus that Au violated company regulations because he left the driver’s seat, leaving the bus unattended.
He said the management of Citybus did not have a full understanding of the company’s regulations. After looking into the regulations, he explained it was a violation for the driver to leave the bus, but as shown in the YouTube video, Au only left the driver’s seat and was inside the bus the whole time.
He ruled Au’s action had not caused financial damage to Citybus and awarded him compensation, which included wages in lieu of notice, worth one month of Au’s salary, and the long-service payment.
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