At the time of the first two accidents in January and February of 2009, Stephen Harrison, 58, of Gateshead, was under immense pressure in his personal life. He was looking after his 18-month-old granddaughter while her mother underwent treatment for a very serious illness.

Mr Harrison was dismissed after a third accident in December 2009 and sought help from his union, the RMT, who instructed Employment Rights specialists Thompsons Solicitors in his claim for unfair dismissal.

After Mr Harrison rejected an offer of £750 from UPS Ltd to settle his claim, the Employment Tribunal decided that Mr Harrison’s length of service and personal troubles had not been given due consideration in the case. Neither had consideration been given as to what other sanctions other than dismissal could have been applied.

The Employment Tribunal held that Mr Harrison had been unfairly dismissed and that he should be awarded compensation.

His union representative, Regional Officer Stan Herschel, said: ‘In all three accidents there was minimal damage and no one was injured. UPS Ltd’s decision was extremely harsh in the circumstances and I am very pleased that the RMT was able to help secure justice for Mr Harrison in this case.’

Anu Kaura, from Thompsons Solicitors said: ‘This decision shows that employers should not just arbitrarily dismiss employees without looking at the circumstances leading up to the alleged misconduct. I am extremely pleased that UPS Ltd has now been held accountable for the way in which they treated their employee.’