18-year old Jamie Gwen Hammond worked at the Grosvenor Hotel in Timaru, New Zealand, and lost her job in 2011 after she took unclaimed slot winnings, which she considered to be a tip. A case was filed and now Hammond has been given $13,000 in compensation from the casino for a dismissal that was considered to be unfair.
Hammond was trained by a particular manager at the casino, who remains anonymous. The manager trained Hammond to take tips from unclaimed winnings. This was improper procedure but found to take place regularly with this particular manager. One instance was brought up during this case which showed the manager split $320 of unclaimed winnings with the staff. Legally, any unclaimed monies should have been placed in the bank account of the Pub Charity Trust.
Because of how she was taught by her manager, Hammond chose to take $12 from $24 of slot winnings which were unclaimed. Hammond was asked by a customer to change in $24 of slot winnings into bank notes. The customer ended up leaving the casino before claiming his money and Hammond thought it was ok to divide the money and take her share. Hammond tried to split the money with a fellow co-worker, but the other employee refused her half of the money.
A short time later, Hammond was fired for her actions. David Appleton, of the New Zealand Employment Relations Authority, heard of her case and decided the firing needed to be looked in to. So Appleton created a case and summed his findings up by stating:
“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.”
In the end, Hammond was able to receive $6,217 for her lost wages as well as $7,500 for embarrassment she suffered from the casino. This was Hammond’s first ever full time employment experience.