November 16, 2020

Bus Driver Gets Cooked By MTA For Altercation With A Rider | Cup of Joe

Bus Driver Gets Cooked By MTA For Altercation With A Rider

Thanksgiving is around the corner: Family, Friends and Food.  Yes!

This week’s Cup of Joe, takes us to the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, where Ted Allen from Chopped  lives.  Chopped has shot 450 episodes, and "Chopped Junior" has shot 52.

In an interview with the Food Network about his favorite moments on Chopped, Allen stated, "My favorite mystery basket ingredient remains the whole chicken-in-a-can, not so much because I love the food -- I love the sound it makes when it plops out of the can."

Our case study involves an MTA bus driver accused of spitting on a female passenger in Brooklyn – the driver says it was the passenger who kicked and spit on him first. The driver’s name is Olusegun Alale. After the incident, he was served with  a "Disciplinary Action Notification" that terminated his employment on the grounds of "Gross Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming."

This is his hearing.

Testimony of Alale – The Bus Operator

Q: How long have you been employed as a bus operator?

A: From May 5, 2017 until March 5, 2020. That’s when I got fired.

Q: Do you have a family?

A: Yes. I am married and a father – I have a daughter. I was born in Nigeria, and I am 51.     

Q: Can you tell us what happened during your trip on the Saturday afternoon in question?

A: I was driving the B25 when a passenger, a woman,  Sapphire, got on with her two kids and a new stroller.

Q: Well, what happened after Sapphire boarded?

A: Sapphire went to the middle of the bus and blocked the exit doors with the stroller. It wasn’t collapsed.

Q: And what did you do when you saw that?

A: I made an announcement on the PA that all baby strollers had to be folded for other customers' safety. 

Q: What did Sapphire do?

A: She didn't move.

Q: What did you do in response to seeing her not move?

A: I asked her directly to fold up the stroller so that the rear exit would not be blocked.

Q: And did Sapphire respond?

A: Yes. She said she didn't know how to collapse it. So I told her she had to get off the bus.

Q: Did she respond?

A: Yeah she responded! She punched me a bunch of times in the head. 

Q: And what were you doing while Sapphire was attacking you?

A: You know, just blocking her swings. She was probably hurting herself more than me. But then, she spat on my face as she got off the bus.

Q: What did you do when that happened?

A: At that moment, I could not take it no more. I was confused, perplexed, shocked. I followed her off the bus and….and…I spit at her. Looking back, I wish I would have just stayed on the bus. But at that point, I don't know what happened.

Q: What happened after that?

A: I called transit headquarters, and while on the line, she began assaulting me again. And then she calmed down.

Q: Were the police notified?

A: Yes. We both spoke to the police, but we both declined to press charges. She said, "I just regret getting in his face… I did get in his face. I regret doing that."

Q: Alale, did you make a mistake?

A: I made a mistake spitting on Sapphire Philip, a mother of two. And for the record, I want to apologize to my daughter; and, I want to apologize to all my friends. I want to apologize to my friends because that's not the person I am.

The Decision - The Arbitrator

The termination of Alale was UPHELD.  Alale was fired.


Alale, representing himself, tried to have the Decision reversed.  He argued that the arbitrator's decision upholding his termination for a single, alleged transgression was grossly excessive, shocking to the Court's sense of fairness, and disproportionate to the misconduct alleged.

But an arbitrator’s decision can only be overturned for specific reasons provided by the law:

There are four grounds:

  • (i) corruption, fraud or misconduct in procuring the award.
  • (ii) partiality of an arbitrator appointed as a neutral.
  • (iii) an arbitrator exceeded their power or so imperfectly executed it that a final and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.
  • (iv) failure to follow the arbitration procedures.

None of those reasons was provided by Alale to the court.

Also, he did not properly serve his petition, which is very complicated, and should be handled by a attorney that is familiar with this area of practice. 

So the finding of Gross Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming, was final and binding for Alale.

Alale decided to proceed to court without a lawyer. So, for spitting on a mother of two, and not hiring a lawyer to make sure he got a fair shot, Alale was CHOPPED.

Click HERE to read the full case.

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