From: Bournemouth Daily Echo
A “Walter Mitty” railway worker who “fictitiously” claimed he was sacked for removing a shopping trolley from a track withdrew his claim for unfair dismissal today.
Ian Faletto alleged he was sacked after 27 years’ service by South West Trains for removing the trolley at Lymington railway station in Hampshire, where he was ticket office clerk, in March this year.
Many local people supported his campaign to get his job back and New Forest MP Desmond Swayne handed a 8,400 petition to Parliament in support of the award-winning worker.
But after he was presented with new evidence, his counsel advised him to drop his claim, prompting a strong statement from SWT who described the allegations by Mr Faletto as “fictitious Walter-Mitty-style claims.”
It said it was angry about the trolley claim, that Mr Faletto stepping on to tracks were “foolhardy actions” and that it was “doubly upsetting that many well-meaning people in community were so misled”.
Mr Faletto, 50, had alleged he contacted the signalman to turn off the power and then removed the trolley to prevent an accident.
Speaking outside the employment tribunal building in Southampton, Mr Faletto, from Totton, Hants, maintained that the trolley was on the railway track.
“The way they have treated me after 27 years’ momentous service is very disappointing.
“It’s very difficult to fight such a large company. They have basically said they have other evidence and I have been strongly advised by my counsel to withdraw.”
Director of SWT Jake Kelly said: “We are pleased that Mr Faletto has finally withdrawn his case, which proves definitively that there was never any substance to the claims he made.
“However, we remain angry at the way these fictitious Walter-Mitty-style claims were so quickly reported as fact. It is also doubly upsetting that many well-meaning people in community were so misled.
“This was a matter of principle and integrity and we were fully prepared to outline the truth to the employment tribunal.
“We are confident that they had heard all of the evidence, they would have found in our favour. For the avoidance of doubt, we have made no payment to settle this case and nor have we ever considered doing so.
“As we have maintained all along, this case involved a serious breach of safety. The fact is that there is no evidence to show that there was a trolley on the track, as Mr Faletto claimed, and the safety of our passengers was not compromised at any point.
“The only safety risk was caused by Mr Faletto’s foolhardy actions in knowingly stepping down onto an area of live track for no justifiable reason.”
Finally Mr Faletto has realised that his lies could only go so far, unfortunately it has taken months of peoples time and also destroyed the trust of local people to get to aa point that should have been reached immediately. Due to the amount of bad press this case has caused Southwest Trains, I do hope that they themselves will look at taking action against Mr Faletto in some way.