A COACH firm, which has been ordered to pay £30,000 to a driver who was called an 'imbecile' by work colleagues, has spoken out about the case.

As The Press reported last week, Tom Holland, 35, who lives in Haxby, said he worked as a driver for A&A Coach Travel Ltd, then based at Tockwith and now in Harrogate, as driver for two periods, from September 2016 - May 2019 and then again from June 2019 - December 2020, during the pandemic.

It was during the latter period that the bullying occurred.

A Leeds employment tribunal found Mr Holland - who has Asperger's, was subjected to frequent name-calling and abuse related to his disability and was threatened with dismissal from his job.

They heard how Mr Holland was told: 'Just do what you are told to do you special needs waste of space'.

And how he was also called an 'imbecile' an 'illiterate cretin' and referred to as 'Mr Bean'.

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Following our article, the firm which provides bus services, including contracts to take pupils to and from local schools, took to social media on Friday night (March 5) saying:  "As a responsible and caring company, we would like to reassure our employees and clients we do not tolerate any forms of discrimination in the workplace.

"Disrespectful behaviour has no place in our working environment.

"Whilst we are disappointed are and taking it extremely seriously, an employment tribunal has ruled against us, this is a complex case.

"We are looking to appeal this decision, as this is not who we are."

The tribunal in Leeds heard that in the end Mr Holland was constructively dismissed and after he'd left the firm he was reported to the DVLA and his former employer wrote to a new employer putting his new job in jeopardy.

The panel heard that said Mr Holland would cry himself to sleep, dreading going into work everyday and hoping the behaviour would stop.

The panel awarded Mr Holland £29,000 for injury to feelings plus £1,500 costs.

Mr Holland who has been a bus driver for over seven years, and said he is now "much happier in life" working for a company near Doncaster, said: "I was in a really dark place at the time, I didn't have anyone to talk to about what was going on and the fact that it carried on even after I left, with them contacting my new employer meant I couldn't get away from it.

"Now I just want my award. The tribunal have found in my favour and I just want what's owed to me."