(TVOne) A union claims an Auckland casino worker has been threatened with dismissal for carrying a pocket bible with her when she works.
The Unite Union says last week Tuni Parata, a Tower Host at SkyCity casino, received a letter to attend a disciplinary meeting because of her alleged misconduct.
The letter said the possible outcome of the meeting was “a final written warning”, said Mike Treen, National Director of Unite, which represents Parata.
This means the company considers carrying a pocket bible to be “serious misconduct” and any further breach will mean instant dismissal, Treen said.
The union is calling for the charges against her to be dropped.
“This is completely absurd” said Treen.
“Since when does carrying a bible in your pocket become unlawful in New Zealand workplaces?
“For some Christians carrying a bible on the person at all times is a vital part of their faith and relationship to God. What happened to freedom of opinion and religion as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?”
The union does not believe ordering staff not to carry a pocket bible is a lawful or reasonable instruction in a workplace in the 21st century, Treen said.
The union will be calling on the company “to see sense ” before the scheduled disciplinary meeting this Thursday, Treen said.
Sky City said different roles at the casino have different uniform standards.
But as a general principle staff in customer service roles are in breach of SkyCity’s uniform standards if they carry items such as personal mobile phones, books and other items which might interfere with their “full engagement with their customers”, said Grainne Troute SkyCity General Manager Group Services.
“The media comments from Mike Treen are alarmist and do not fairly reflect the situation,” Troute said.
“A breach of uniform policies such as this is not considered ‘serious misconduct’ and would not be expected to result in the dismissal of any staff member.”