Monday, 3 December 2018

As Excuses Go....

A bus driver who was sacked after testing positive for cocaine has won almost £40,000 in compensation at an employment tribunal.
Kenneth Ball, 62, from Canvey, failed a random drugs test after a shift in June 2017 when he worked for First Buses. Dad-of-two Mr Ball, who had a previously unblemished 21-year career, insisted he had never taken drugs and blamed the result on cocaine getting into his saliva from bank notes.
Well, when I'm at a cashpoint, the very first thing I do before tucking the cash away is lick them. 

Doesn't everyone?

But that's not what happened, according to the driver.
As a diabetic, Mr Ball said he had to test his blood sugar every two hours, resulting in sore fingertips which he said he licked continuously. The tribunal heard that the "constant handling of money and hand-to-mouth interaction potentially contaminated the sample".
Convincing? Hmm. I'm not so sure.
In a bid to clear his name, Mr Ball had his hair follicles tested at his own expense. The tests showed no traces of cocaine in his system but the company disregarded this evidence because it was "not part of the company's procedure", the court heard.
Is the company not entitled to say what it considers to be part of its procedure? If it tells employees up front, then surely the answer can only be 'Yes'.?
Employment Judge Tobin noted that in criminal proceedings, hair follicle testing is accepted as more reliable than saliva tests. Referring to them variously as “puerile” and “grossly unfair”, judge Tobin found that the managers throughout the hierarchy of the company were “committed to one outcome only and that was to find the claimant guilty”.
Tobin has form for bonkers decisions. But does this leave the police wide open to similar claims by drug drivers? Will they too start to need hair samples?

Still, there's always the comments to leaven the subject with a bit of humour:



Lord T said...

Random drug testing is an intrusion into your personal life and should only be used in the event of an accident. Soon it will be extended to those that smoke and any smokers sacked.

Umbongo said...

Bit of a stretch here JuliaM. Sure the company is entitled to lay down basic procedures but if those procedures are not comprehensive or, worse, predisposed to a particular outcome (or predisposed to rule out a particular outcome) I think the employee is entitled to challenge the procedures - or a decision based on those procedures

Furthermore, I can't see where Tobin was involved in the case you cite: Kidd -v- Met Police Commissioner. He wasn't the judge at first instance and he wasn't the appellate judge (who sat alone).

Will Williams said...

I'd advise him not to associate himself with Sterling Archer if it's a coke rap though.

Bucko said...

Heh! It actually sounds legit. Like he was just faced with unwavering management who can't think beyond procedure

Flaxen Saxon said...

I'm going with licky finger man on this one as hair follicle testing is highly reliable, saliva testing not so much.

jack ketch said...

He had his ball hair tested?!?!


Now I see.

Bloody tricyclic antidepressants make reading difficult.

Joking aside I'm with the others, well played Mr Ball and Tobin is quite right to castigate the firm for ignoring the hair analysis.

Sobers said...

I'm with the driver - you can't fake a hair follicle test (if done properly). And its well known that bank notes in London (and probably all major cities) are contaminated with cocaine, repeated studies have shown it. Tests have showed that people who have definitely never taken drugs will have cocaine residues on their hands from note contamination. As testing becomes more and more accurate, able to detect to parts per billion, false positives are highly likely. The idea that you would not accept a far more accurate hair test result over a saliva one is down to pure dogmatism.

This case is another one of a bureaucracy ( a private one in this case) acting in its own interests rather than that of justice - they didn't want to admit their procedures were flawed so defended them regardless of the facts.