Royal Mail fired a postman after he fell over two times at work and didn’t look where he was headed. He was unfairly dismissed.

Paul Duffy fractured his shoulder after tripping on a path and just three months later, he broke his knee after slipping on a sledge in a driveway while reading his mail.

The postman, who had worked for Royal Mail for nearly 20 years, alleged that he did not see the sledge as it was hidden under a blanket of snow, but the homeowner claimed it was perfectly visible.

The homeowner also told his bosses that they saw him reading his mail and claimed he was not watching where he was going before he fell, a Newcastle tribunal heard.

His bosses ruled he was ‘distracted because he was reading whilst walking’ in both incidents and sacked him for dishonesty and ‘disregard to health and safety’ in March.

Mr Duffy filed a claim of unfair dismissal but Employment Judge John Morris ruled the decision to sack him was fair and dismissed his claim.

Paul Duffy broke his shoulder when he slipped on a path. Three months later, he was back in full recovery. broke his knee after slipping on a sledge in a driveway while reading his mail (stock image)

After submitting fraudulent overtime claims, Mr Duffy received a two year suspended dismissal.

He could be fired for any further misconduct.

Last October, Mr Duffy was born. He was at Stockton-on-Tees County Durham’s delivery office when he walked into the driveway to deliver mail.

Following a fall on the path’s edge, he was taken to hospital for a broken shoulder. 

Although he said he was going to do some light work in the office, no formal action was taken.

In January however, He was also hurt in another fall. bosses that he had delivered mail to a property when he stood on a sledge as he left the house, which caused him to fall.

According to the injury report, “The driving conditions were as icy as snowing. The drive was covered with small pieces of snow but the pavement below could be clearly seen.” 

“Mr Duffy, for whatever reason, has not seen the sledge before he walked down the drive.

Following X-rays Mr Duffy was informed that he suffered from a fractured knee and severe ligament damage. He needed surgery.

Initially, the veteran postman was off for four weeks. However, due to a stress-related issue, he was able to continue work until February.

Royal Mail reported that the homeowners had given Duffy a parcel. As Duffy turned to go, Mr Duffy began to look at the package of mail to find out where it was taking him next. 

He walked out of the door and took two steps. Then he stood up on a sledge left behind on the drive. Mr Duffy slipped …’.

They claimed that the sledge was not covered with snow as Duffy stated.

His bosses decided that he was distracted by reading while walking and dismissed him. He filed a complaint of unfair dismissal, but the judge dismissed his claim. Stock image

According to the investigation, it was likely that Mr Duffy had been reading his mail while walking and was not paying enough attention.

Duffy spoke at a Jan fact-finding session“I stood up from the step and turned my back to the car, and took two steps in front of the cars. I then stood on the snow patch.”

It was only when he was falling that he realized he’d stepped on snow, and the sledge underneath it. It was all snow everywhere’.

Tom Carver, the delivery office manager was assigned to review the matter and convene a conduct meeting in February to examine discrepancies in the accident investigation.

Tribunal heard the misconduct to be discussed as potential dishonesty, and possible ‘deliberate disregard for health and safety’.

At the meeting Mr Duffy mentioned that he looked straight ahead and saw where he was going.

“I said that I was standing on a snow patch. The sledge wasn’t completely snowcovered, but I do not know. It is not clear if it was completely covered.

Mr Carver stated Mr Duffy “knew there were snow patches on the drive” and that he should have seen the danger.

He stated that ‘I believe that Mr Duffy claimed that the sledge had been under snow to conceal that he was again to blame for his accident…

“It was evident that both of these incidents were a misunderstanding.” [Mr Duffy]He was walking while distracted by a book. 

“He hadn’t identified the sledge. It was deliberate disregard of safety and health.

Unfair dismissal claims were unsuccessful.