Sacked Bingo Players Plead Their Case

In the UK bingo is incredibly popular. Industry estimates say that about three million people in the UK play bingo regularly and the industry employs about 30,000 people throughout the UK. There are many bingo fanatics in the country as a recent news story will demonstrate. Recently four Gala bingo employees decided to spend their day off playing bingo. The bingo hall workers went to the Gala’s Possil Park bingo hall. Little did they know that events would lead to their firing.

At an employment tribunal in Dundee members heard that Gala had fired the four on two counts of misconduct; smuggling in alcohol and engaging in unacceptable behavior that disturbed other players. They were accused of breaching the hall’s liquor license and a second count said that they had ‘breached company policy.’ Gala regional manager Peter Connor made the decision to sack the four employees. Connor admitted to the tribunal that their behavior in the hall was not a breach of the license and the Gala staff gaming policy.

The four players, from Fife, smuggled in alcohol and hid it under the tables while they played bingo. Two of the employees William Anderson, 24, and Lori Kennedy, 27, brought Gala in front of the employment tribunal charging unfair dismissal. The other two employees Susan Scappaticcio and Sylvia Cunnigham settled with Gala and did not appear in front of the tribunal. Connor admitted that the wording of the letter he sent to Anderson and Kennedy could have been better.

In the letter of dismissal Connor had stated “The reason for your dismissal is that you were in breach of the liquor licence and the Gala staff gaming policy. It should have read that it was a breach of company policy and put our licence in jeopardy.” Connor told Gala’s lawyer, Margaret Anne Clark, he had asked Kennedy what she would have done to players in the same circumstances. Kennedy replied that she would have taken the alcohol away and informed the manager since the hall does not have a license to allow players to bring and drink their own alcohol.

When cross examined by Kennedy’s solicitor, Ryan Russell, Connor admitted that there was nothing in the licensing legislation to bar players from consuming their own alcohol. It was not a breach of company policy since it was not mentioned in Gala’s policy documents. Connor said he was sure he made the right decision to fire the four workers but said he was not at his best when he wrote the dismissal letter. The next time these four want to get together for drinks and bingo they should stick to internet bingo!