Teenage Casino Worker awarded $13k over Unclaimed Slots Case
Taking unclaimed slots winnings is pretty common in the casino world. However, it’s usually players picking up unclaimed winnings from slot machines, rather than the casino employees. A New Zealand teenager named Jamie Gwen Hammond found this out the hard way when she was fired from the Grosvenor Hotel Timaru for taking slots winnings.
Luckily for Hammond though, she successfully contested her firing and received $13,000 in compensation. The 18-year-old’s argument hinged on how her former shift manager took unclaimed slot machine winnings and divided it equally among employees. Since this happened during Hammond’s training, she felt like the former manager had set a precedent.
The specific instance that landed Ms. Hammond in hot water occurred when a customer wanted to change $24 worth of slots earnings into notes; however, he left and never returned to claim his notes. When Hammond’s shift ended several hours later, she divided the $24 up with her co-worker, who ultimately chose not to take their $12 share.
It is Grosvenor Hotel Timura’s policy that employees put unclaimed slot machine payouts into the Pub Charity Trust bank account. So Hammond was basically fired for violating this policy and keeping the money.
The teenager didn’t feel like she had a chance to explain her side of the story, so she took the case to the New Zealand Employee Relations Authority. David Appleton, who works with the ERA, sided with Hammond and stated:
That should have convinced a fair and reasonable employer not to have dismissed Ms. Hammond, but rather to have instituted training for the staff if the approach Ms Hammond had learned from Ms X was viewed as wrong.
After the case was decided, Hammond was awarded $6,217 in lost wages along with another $7,500 for defamation of character.