Known as one of the most famous casinos in the world, Casino Canberra has lost an appeal in an Australian Capital Territory (ACT) tribunal asking it to pay compensation to a long-time employee for accusations of discrimination.
Casino Workers’ Rights Under Discussion
In 2019, Bryan Bradford Kidman, a loyal Casino Canberra worker who had dedicated the past two decades to his job, raised a few concerns in relation to the rights of casino employees. His concerns came at a time when the casino was getting ready for a potential change of ownership, with Blue Whale Entertainment preparing to acquire Aquis Entertainment. Kidman decided to take his concerns to the local press and used a media hub called The Canberra Times to announce that none of the venue’s workers had received any information regarding the new salaries, working conditions, or levels of staffing. Kidman’s interview succeeded United Voice Union’s talks with Casino Canberra regarding the ownership deal that eventually failed to go through.
Kidman informed the public that the workers’ union had asked for written assurances that would guarantee the acquisition would not trigger any forced lay-offs, roster changes, or work outsourcing. The casino failed to provide any of these assurances while expressing its preference to only initiate any bargaining processes after the completion of the sale.
Shortly after the article was published, Casino Canberra and its legal counsel sent a formal letter to Kidman informing him about the venue’s required behavior-related policy. They also informed Kidman about the possibility of asking for formal performance counseling. Next, a union organizer decided to file a complaint with the ACT Human Rights Commission prior to being directed to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Kidman claimed the casino discriminated against him when sending the letter informing him about the respective terms.
The ACT Tribunal Ruled in Kidman’s Favor
In the summer of 2020, the ACT tribunal ruled in Kidman’s favor, asking Casino Canberra to pay an $8620 compensation, with $4000 in damages along with the rest of the legal costs. The tribunal considered the gambling establishment breached a part of the Discrimination Act by subjecting Kidman to unfavorable employment treatment because of his industrial activity.
Casino Canberra complied with one of the tribunal’s orders while appealing three more. They questioned whether the tribunal had mistaken Kidman’s participation in industrial activity during the time of his interview, as well as in relation to the venue subjecting him to unfavorable treatment. Moreover, the casino argued that the successful completion of the acquisition would not have changed any of its statutory or contractual obligations regarding employees. Tribunal members considered there was sufficient information for the initial tribunal to understand that Kidman’s actions met the definition of industrial activity as explained in the Discrimination Act. The appeal tribunal, therefore, decided to dismiss Casino Canberra’s legal action. The casino had to shut down its operations last August amid severe pandemic restrictions.