Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Dismissed Casino Nanaimo employees have filed a class action lawsuit with the BC Supreme Court alleging the company acted in bad faith and wrongly fired them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to court documents filed on April 6th, Catherine Fanning, Kimberly Bussiere and Samantha Heffel are leading the civil action against Casino Nanaimo operators Great Canadian Casinos Inc. and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
They claim the casino has failed to “meet its obligations of good faith, honesty and fair dealing with class members when quitting” by casino employees.
The business was suspended on March 16, 2020 due to COVID-19, at which time the operators of Casino Nanaimo laid off employees. The Great Canadian also issued a memorandum stating that workers were not allowed to “take statutory vacation pay.” The use of the accumulated vacation time “was suspended” and “long-term earnings and disability benefits for which” [the corporation] self-insured, were terminated immediately, ”the lawsuit said.
Plaintiffs allege that certain tipped employees received envelopes of cash from the trunk of a manager’s vehicle when they cleared their lockers in July.
Another memo distributed in September contained “false information” alleged by plaintiffs and outlined a “forced takeover process” equivalent to termination pay under the BC Employment Standards Act of one week of pay per year of service up to a maximum of eight Weeks without taking years of service into account.
The company offered another takeover last January, plaintiffs said, but this time capped the payout to $ 2,500 and changed the requirements for settlement funds to be taken as severance payments. That would mean they would not be eligible for unemployment insurance, they claim, and they say another proposal would not come until this summer.
Plaintiffs say the company should have known it was “performing a mass layoff of employees without adequate compensation for the longer notice period required by the law.” [act]. “
The lawsuit states that the company claims the workers are still employed as it continues to pay benefits, but the bonuses have been waived by Manulife Financial and the British Columbia government. Bussiere said she and the plaintiffs had been removed from email lists and Facebook pages.
Bussiere also said she could not comment on the financial compensation requested.
“Some of us have been working there for over 30 years and I myself 22 years,” said Bussiere. “At my age, it’s hard to get another job and be trained into a position where I would earn what I made as an employee of the casino. You have invested 22 years, invested a lot of time, and expect to retire and get a pension, and suddenly you don’t have access to all of that. “
Bussiere said Nanaimo is the only Great Canadian Gaming Corporation casino without a union.
The plaintiffs are represented by Martin Sheard and Geraldine Teixeira. The News Bulletin has asked both for comments.
In an email, Chuck Keeling, executive vice president of Stakeholder Relations and Responsible Gaming at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, said the company couldn’t say much because it was a legal matter.
“Since the matter is in court, we have no comment,” said Keeling. “However, we would like to note that we are eagerly awaiting the reopening of Casino Nanaimo on July 1st, subject to the approval of the provincial government and [Dr. Bonnie Henry] to do that. We have been closed since March 16, 2020 due to a government-ordered suspension of operations in support of the province’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID.
“To support the reopening of the property, we have already called back around 75 of our team members and are looking forward to having them back in action.”
The company has 21 days after receiving the notice to respond.
None of the claims have been proven in court.
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