File photo.

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

A Kelowna bus driver’s attempt to keep his job has failed after an arbitrator ruled that his firing for texting and driving while working was not an excessive response by his employer.

Tim Wesman was found to to have been using his cellphone while operating a bus in Kelowna for First Canada ULC in January. According to a labour arbitration decision, Wesman uses hisphone while driving a bus full of passengers for one minutes and 14 seconds – at one point driving as fast as 45 kilometres per hour.

The incident was caught on camera by another transit driver who was on the bus at the time, who then reported it to a supervisor. Wesman was fired following an internal investigation into the matter.

READ MORE: Alberta company proposes expanded bus service in Okanagan-Shuswap

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With his transit union, Wesman attempted to get his job back arguing that he was terminated “without just cause for texting while driving an in-service transit bus.”

Wesman stated to be going through personal distress at the time with the death of his father and a sick girlfriend he was calling to check on. The arbitrator for the case ruled with First Canada and found that the termination was not an excessive response in these circumstances.

READ MORE: Victoria man wins record-breaking Human Rights Tribunal case

Wesman said during the investigation that it was a “momentary lapse of judgment that I regret.”

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