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Bingo Boss Wins Jackpot for Unfair Dismissal

  • 19 Jan 13
  • Written by Deena Chance

altThe general manager of a Gala Bingo club in Arbroath, Scotland, didn’t take too kindly to being given the sack by the popular UK chain. So much so, in fact, that she went through an employment tribunal to challenge the decision, claiming she was unfairly dismissed. Marie Watkins, aged 44, who lives in Commerce Street, had been with the Gala Coral Group for twenty years, until the management decided that she was incapable of carrying out new responsibilities. However, when the employment tribunal took place recently in Dundee, they concluded that there was no reason why Marie would have been unable to perform her new job, and were not satisfied that her managers didn’t even consider putting her into another role. They also queried why Marie’s line manager (who made the decision to sack her) wasn’t called to give evidence at the tribunal by Gala Bingo.

The panel were told that Marie had to take a more hands-on approach than many of the other bingo club managers as the Arbroath branch was smaller than most of the other clubs. They also heard that she regularly worked more hours than she was paid for, and was at one time highly-regarded by the management team, who had awarded her with the title of Regional Manager of the Year on many occasions.

The problems all started when a new performance measurement system for staff was introduced by Gala in January 2011, and it was concluded that the Arbroath club was not faring too well. The report stated that many of the club’s employees, who had recently transferred from the Montrose branch, were showing signs of negativity about the company, as well as airing concerns that the Arbroath branch might also close its doors in the same way that their previous one did.

Marie was summoned to a meeting in April 2011 with her line manager and human resources business manager, to talk about her current level of performance, and to help identify areas for improvement. Consequently, having monitored the situation for signs of improvement, her managers felt that she had not made sufficient progress. She received several warnings before the final decision was made in February 2012 to dismiss her.

Luckily, the tribunal took the ex-bingo hall manager’s side, and ruled that the dismissal was unfair, and awarded her with more than £44k in compensation.

We think Marie hit the jackpot big time, and she didn’t even need to play a bingo game to win it!


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