The Great Canadian Gaming Company (GCGC) is facing a class-action lawsuit from former employees of Casino Nanaimo. The plaintiffs in the case are alleging that the company forced the employees to sacrifice vacation pay and other staff benefits. GCGC runs several casinos in Canada, including Resort Richmond and the River Rock Casino. The 27 former employees contend that the GCGC’s actions caused unnecessary hardship over the duration of the pandemic.
The Casino Nanaimo has remained permanently closed since March 2020, in part due to the conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Casino Employees Allegedly Denied Benefits
Unlike the other GCGC casinos, the Casino Nanaimo was one of the few that were non-unionized. Former staff members have alleged that the company never provided any clear communications about the status of their employment over what was supposedly a temporary closure. Some former employees have claimed they never consented to the company extending their temporary layoff period.
Documents tendered to the court include allegations that employees were paid with envelopes of cash from the trunk of a senior manager’s car. The same employees claim that they were forced to accept a buyout proposal from the GCGC. They allege that the proposal from the company was one week’s worth of salary for every year of service, capped at eight weeks. The buyout meant that former casino employees were then ineligible for employment insurance. They then allege that GCGC didn’t communicate those temporary layoffs had become permanent.
GCGC’s Dark History
This isn’t the first time that the GCGC has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. In January 2021, former CEO Rod Baker was forced to step down from his role over allegations of money laundering. Baker is facing more than six months in prison if found guilty of the charges.
Baker is no stranger to controversy. He and his wife attempted to jump the vaccination queue.
The GCGC’s Richmond River Casino was also involved in a money-laundering scheme, and there were allegations that the Nanaimo Casino laundered funds with the BC Lottery Corporation.
Canadian Casinos Set to Reopen
Like casinos in the US, Canadian casinos were shuttered for the greater part of 2020 during the pandemic. As the vaccination rates have improved across the US and Canada, the casino industry has reopened across Canada. The GCGC still has casinos in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Novia Scotia.
Documents tendered to the court, alleging that the GCGC failed to comply with local employment laws, forcing the former employees into unnecessary hardship. The former employees are seeking punitive damages due to unjustified or constructive termination. The GCGC has declined to comment on the ongoing court action.