Case Review: Bingo workers “broke no rules” on boozed-up day off

An employment tribunal in Dundee has been considering the case of four bingo hall employees who were sacked after taking their own food and drink into another Gala establishment on their day off.

Their employer dismissed them on two counts, namely breaching their alcohol licence and breaching Gala Bingo company policy.

However the regional manager who was responsible for their sacking has since admitted that the behaviour in question was not technically a breach of either.

The four employees from Fife had visited the Possil Park bingo hall on their day off, had smuggled alcohol in and behaved noisily.

Two of the four employees have since taken Gala to tribunal following their sacking, on the grounds of unfair dismissal.

The dismissal letter to the employees read: “The reason for your dismissal is that you were in breach of the liquor licence and the Gala staff gaming policy.”

It transpired later during cross-examination that there was nothing in the licensing legislation which would stop customers from consuming their own alcohol on the premises.

Neither was the employees’ behaviour a breach of the Gala company policy as there was no mention of personal alcohol consumption in the policy wording.

The case goes to the heart of a fair dismissal process, and that regardless of an employer’s gut instinct that their decision to dismiss was 100% correct, the reasoning has to be unequivocal and provable.

The employment tribunal was adjourned until May.