NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Supreme Court judge has awarded Atlantis cost and dismissed the claims of wrongful dismissal by a former casino slots manager who was terminated for gross misconduct, including sleeping on the job, taking two-hour restroom breaks and sleeping in a guest area for 45 minutes on one occasion.
Pamela Walkine was employed by Paradise Enterprises Limited in 1989.
During that period, she was promoted to slots supervisor, senior slots supervisor and slots shift manager.
She claimed that over the course of her employment, she received positive awards and appraisals for performing beyond her responsibilities, and that her performance ratings regularly afforded her bonuses, including during the year of her termination.
But the company said she received several warnings about unsatisfactory performance between 1990 and 2016, some of which were not reflected on Walkine’s record for technical reasons.
According to court documents, the company terminated her for allegedly violating multiple policies between June 23 and 27, 2016.
This included taking extended restroom breaks from 55 minutes to well over two hours; eating in an unauthorized area; congregating with other staff for long periods on the casino floor; and routinely failing or refusing to monitor the casino floor, among other alleged breaches.
She was also accused of sleeping in a guest area — Dragons nightclub — for 45 minutes on one occasion, though Walkine claimed the area was closed to guests at the time and was dimly lit.
She denied resting on the casino floor or in open view, but said the shift was often grueling and the only rest area for the graveyard shift, 2am to 10am, was located in the basement nearly 10 minutes away.
The former employee also claimed the five days that were complained about could not compare to the nearly 30 years of satisfactory and dedicated employment.
Walkine argued that everyone requires restroom breaks and she did not recall any company policy that restricted the time limit.
She said the bathroom breaks were the result of a medical challenge, though she did not disclose it.
She also claimed that the slots kiosk was located on the casino floor and in her capacity as a slots manager, she was unaware of any set times to be spent there.
According to Walkine, she and other associates were sometimes required to cover temporary absences for lunch breaks and they would usually have to use their discretion to balance the taking of lunch and using the restroom due to a lack of staff.
In her evidence, the former employee said she was never absent or late for duty, though the company claimed otherwise.
She also claimed that the company’s legal counsel advised her in May 2016 that she was the only manager who worked an eight-hour shift, and when she declined to work a nine-hour shift, she was invited to “rethink her decision”.
She said she was suspended on June 30, 2016, and upon her return on July 4, she was fired.
Walkine claimed that as a result of her termination, she was blackballed by another leading resort after references were requested and showed the summary dismissal.
In her ruling, Supreme Court Justice G Diane Stewart said based on the evidence, the company conducted a fair investigation over a five-day period and was able to form a reasonable belief that there was gross misconduct.
The judge said Walkine was bound by the slot operations department’s policy and procedures, and by her employment contract, she could be terminated without notice or payment in lieu of notice if she committed actions that amounted to serious misconduct in the course of her duties.
The judge said each act of misconduct constituted a “fundamental breach” of her contract.
The judge dismissed the claim for unfair dismissal.