A DHL Services HGV driver has won his claim of unfair dismissal after he was sacked following a fight with another employee.
An employment tribunal found that there had been a number of flaws in the company’s process and subsequent decision to dismiss Alexandru Milea after the incident occurred on 17 January 2022.
The HGV driver had driven a co-worker, referred to as AT, to a meeting with managers to discuss the latter’s decision to resign from his role in Gatwick.
On the return journey, a disagreement between the two workers began, with AT spitting in Milea’s face, forcing him to pull over onto the hard shoulder so he could clean his glasses.
The situation later escalated, with AT throwing punches at Milea and placing him in a headlock.
Milea was suspended, and following an investigation, DHL informed him that he was dismissed for gross misconduct.
In a letter, the driver was told: “I am satisfied that both you and your colleague had a part to play in the events that unfolded on the 17 January 2022 and that accountability sits with both parties.”
Milea appealed, and in his decision judge Krepski said DHL’s disciplinary hearing officer “seemingly ascribes equal blame to both parties and does not state who instigated this portion of the incident. I find that it is crucial to determine who started this particular physical altercation, since the claimant was saying that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack”.
The judge granted a basic award to Milea of £1,998.50 and compensatory award of £2,594.88.