High Court rules in favour of dismissed ambulance driver

High Court rules in favour of dismissed ambulance driver

CREDIT: Twitter / Screenshot

A COURT has ruled an unfair dismissal in the case of an ambulance driver who played the anthem of the Spanish Legion during the 8 o’clock applause for health care workers during lockdown.

The High Court of Justice in Aragon has sentenced the company to pay him €60,000 in compensation for dismissing him, claiming that play the anthem could offend political sensitivities and violated neutrality in the workplace.

On March 28, during lockdown, the ambulance driver decided to play the anthem, El Novio de la Muerte (The Bridegroom of Death), on the loudspeakers. The co-pilot, who was not wearing a mask, shook hands with passers-by as several pedestrians applauded them as they went by in Huesca.

The image quickly spread on social media and the company dismissed the driver, saying that it violated their code of conduct, and could cause people to lose trust in the quality of care that they provide.

The worker said that his actions had to be considered in context, since it happened on the street next to the military barracks in the city, and he sued them for unfair dismissal.

In December, a court in Huesca ruled in favour of the company, while the region’s High Court has agreed with the worker, saying that “the events occurred in a period of confinement motivated by COVID-19, during which it was customary for citizens to lean out of the windows and balconies, at 8pm, to applaud health care staff, police and military personnel for their services under the circumstances, and for ambulances and police vehicles to sound their sirens in response.”

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.