Our driver has been convicted of a traffic offence on his own plea of guilty. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to pay a fine which he paid. In addition to the fine, the Court ordered his driving licence to be cancelled for a period of three years and the Court also disqualified him from obtaining a new driving licence during the period of cancellation of his driving licence. Can we terminate him from employment on the ground of his conviction?
The employment laws do not prescribe conviction of a traffic offence as one of the grounds which warrant termination of employment. However, cancellation of the driving licence and disqualification from obtaining a new driving licence for a period of 3 years renders the driver redundant because the employer cannot assign him a car to drive. Assigning a person with a car to drive whose driving licence is cancelled or who is disqualified from driving is an offence under section 19(2) of the Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002].
Therefore, you can terminate the driver not on the ground of conviction of a traffic offence but on the ground of loss of qualifications to perform the job which he was employed to do. Before termination the driver has the right to be heard as to why his employment contract should not be terminated for loss of qualification to perform the job. In giving him the right to be heard, the management needs to serve the driver with a show cause notice requiring him to explain why he should not be terminated for loss of qualification to perform the job.
The decision to terminate then comes after the receipt of the response to the show cause notice. This process of termination for loss of qualification does not require holding a disciplinary hearing because the hearing has been done by the Court and orders have been made by the Court. The employee is only told to explain why he should not be terminated for loss of the qualifications he possessed at the time of his appointment. The driver will be entitled to all statutory dues before his employment is finally terminated by the employer for loss of qualification.