‘Bingo boss’ wins Employment Tribunal unfair dismissal claim

MoJA former manager at a Gala bingo hall has won her Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal after she was fired in 2012 over allegations that she was unfit to do her job.

Ms Marie Watkins, 44, started working for the Gala Coral Group in 1995 and at the time of her dismissal was a General Manager at Gala’s Arbroath bingo hall. In January 2011 new performance measures were brought in by the company to determine how well each of the company’s bingo halls were performing. The statistics showed that the Arbroath hall was under-performing and Ms Watkins was subjected to a capability process in April 2011 regarding her performance. Her performance was then monitored over the next year and she was dismissed in February 2012 after she went through various warning stages. Ms Watkins subsequently submitted a claim for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal and the claim came before an Employment Tribunal hearing earlier this year.

Ms Watkins gave evidence at the Employment Tribunal but Gala chose not to call Mr Mike Watret – her line manager and the person who decided to dismiss her – to give evidence. Ms Cundle – a manager for Gala who had dealt with the early stages of the capability process – was called but the Employment Tribunal decided that her evidence was not credible in some parts.

The Employment Tribunal found that Ms Watkins had been unfairly dismissed as it considered that it was not in the reasonable range of responses to dismiss an employee with a long period of exemplary service like Ms Watkins without asking if she would consider redeployment instead of termination. The Employment Tribunal also found that Ms Watkins had not contributed to her dismissal through her conduct and therefore refused to reduce the compensation of £44,635.62 that she was awarded due to her unfair dismissal.