Reinstate suspended bus driver
A bus driver working for Konectbuses in Norwich has been suspended from his job and is facing a disciplinary hearing after he refused to drive a bus which the company had themed with rainbow colours in support of a local Pride march.
According to various media reports, once the driver who is reportedly in his 50’s saw that the bus he was rostered to drive had been adorned with rainbow branding, he voiced his objection and switched to another vehicle.
This would have gone unremarked upon had it not been for the actions of an intolerant 19 year old student who supposedly overheard his remarks and not satisfied with reporting the man to the front desk, proceeded to take a photograph of him and escalated the situation on social media, resulting in his suspension from work. This could potentially lead to reprisals for him and his family.
The student’s objection was not that she had been prevented from proceeding on her journey or that she had experienced a short delay, but that this man’s opinions were offensive and could potentially have upset those who identify as LGBT.
The driver was not expressing any hatred or offensive remarks towards the LGBT community or any one individual but simply exercising his own conscience rights when it comes to being forced to promote a political ideology with which he disagrees.
Many people are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the overt displays of lewd sexual behaviour, nakedness and celebration of sexual fetishes and pervasions which are on public display at Pride marches. It is one thing to tolerate those who have different values to ourselves, it is quite another to be forced by one’s employer to promote those values.
The rainbow flag is a political symbol, supporters of which promote a number of troubling ethical practices such as gender ideology and surrogacy. When a company chooses to adopt a political cause as part of their corporate branding employees are then automatically associated with that cause and often, as in the case of the bus driver, forced to promote it.
In a statement Konect buses have said that they ‘have been champions of Pride since 2017 and do not condone behaviour from employees which does not support this view.’ To force an employee to promote values which go against their conscience or religious faith is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Were employees consulted before the re-branding of their buses, or given the option to switch vehicles? Was the driver informed that he would be required to promote LGBT causes on behalf of the company as part of his employment contract? Does this mean that those from religious minorities may not become employees of Konect or their parent company, the Go Ahead group?
In a disturbing development one of the company’s employees has gone onto social media to gloat that the driver’s dismissal is a forgone conclusion because his direct manager is gay. This implies that the man, could be denied fair process and subject to a biased investigation.
This man who potentially has a family to support now faces losing his job thanks to the irresponsible actions of a 19 year old student, who may well have misheard or misrepresented his comments. The driver was not denying anyone service or indeed being rude or offensive to a passenger, but was merely exercising his own conscience rights.
Sign the petition to Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director of Konect Buses, asking for the driver’s immediate reinstatement.