Pregnant woman fired by Limerick casino and told “to put her feet up at home”

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A MOYROSS woman has been awarded €36,000 from the Employment Appeals Tribunal, after she was unfairly dismissed from her job in Fitzpatrick’s casino in Limerick while she was pregnant.

A MOYROSS woman has been awarded €36,000 from the Employment Appeals Tribunal, after she was unfairly dismissed from her job in Fitzpatrick’s casino in Limerick while she was pregnant.

Aylamba Chocken, a casino dealer from Mauritius, had worked in the club on Pery Square since August 27, 2009, until she was dismissed in April 29, 2010, when she was allegedly told “to put her feet up at home.”

Ms Chocken, who was in her mid-30s at the time, became pregnant in November 2009, and told her employers the following month, saying she did not want to lose her job.

Around two months later, on February 24, 2010, a security man approached her gambling table and removed a customer, who had been cheating, and was thrown out. Ms Chocken was then given a written warning “for failure to perform her duties by allowing players to cheat at her table”.

She told the tribunal she was given no chance to explain herself regarding the incident of alleged cheating at her table. She was called to the office, where a manager shouted and screamed at her, and asked her to sign a written warning but said nothing about anything that could subsequently happen to her as a consequence. No other disciplinary issue arose after this date.

She was told on April 29 that she was being sacked after arriving in work that evening, and did not get state benefits or social welfare until February 2012.

Ms Chocken had worked in a casino in Mauritius for a major company before coming in 2007 to Ireland where she studied English and make-up. She had received casino training in Mauritius where there had been no disciplinary issues against her. She had worked in a casino work in Ireland before starting in Fitzpatrick’s where she received no contract. The general manager, who was not named in the tribunal’s documents, said that she would get €1,500.00 a month plus tips.

Giving sworn testimony, the manager said they monitored a three-card poker table.

“A customer was pulling back losing bets such that the respondent [the casino] would not make money from that customer. The claimant [Ms Chocken] was letting the customer do this. She made no effort to stop him doing it,” the Tribunal heard.

The manager said that there was very little that she could say after he showed her the CCTV footage but the footage was only kept for twelve weeks after which it was overwritten. He said that they had three other employees fall pregnant and that they had gone on maternity leave.

The tribunal found that she was unfairly dismissed and awarded compensation of €36,000