Casino worker wins right to keep Bible at work

By Abby Gillies

Skycity worker Tuni Parata who has been threatened with instant dismissal for carrying a pocket sized bible. Photo / One News
Skycity worker Tuni Parata who has been threatened with instant dismissal for carrying a pocket sized bible. Photo / One News

SkyCity worker Tuni Parata has won the right to keep her Bible with her at work following a meeting with her bosses today.

Ms Parata met SkyCity managers this afternoon about her alleged misconduct for carrying the Bible during shifts as a host at the casino - a habit she feared could cost her her job.

It was determined at today's meeting that carrying a pocket Bible was not a disciplinary matter and Ms Parata was allowed to carry the book with her at work as long as it was not visible and she could use it during her breaks.

"I am very happy with the outcome. I'm allowed the keep the Bible with me,'' said a smiling and relieved Ms Parata after the meeting.

Unite Union national director Mike Treen was also pleased with the outcome but said the action taken by SkyCity had been unnecessary.

"We are (pleased) but we don't think Tuni should have been put through this.

"She will be able to carry a pocket Bible with her in the future that's not obvious to the punters at SkyCity,'' he said.

He has also asked SkyCity to review its policy around uniform breaches and to "clarify the nature of disciplinary letters''.

SkyCity general manager group services Grainne Troute said earlier that a written warning was the maximum penalty for the breach of uniform standards, and was confident the issue would be resolved without any disciplinary action.

The breach extended to items such as mobile phones, books and other things which might interfere with staff fully engaging with their customers, she said.

"Initially the issue with Tuni was she was carrying a Bible that was much larger than the small pocket Bible that she's now carrying. The Bible that she's carrying now is much smaller - she can fit it into her pocket - and it does appear that she can carry it without it being visible to customers and, therefore, from an appearance standpoint, it fits with our uniform policy.

"I think what we're finding here is that the policy is flexible enough to allow something small like a pocket Bible but it's not flexible enough to allow a large Bible, like the one that was previously being used.''

Ms Troute said this afternoon that the decision made today would have been communicated to Ms Parata on Monday if a meeting that day had gone ahead as scheduled. It had been pushed back by the union.

Ms Parata was never in danger of losing her job over the Bible, she said.

"We were unequivocal right from the start that this wasn't a dismissal issue.''

Ms Parata had originally carried a much larger Bible and while that was not suitable, the smaller Bible she was now carrying was.

"For us it is a pragmatic solution for her. As long as she has the small Bible that she can keep on herself that doesn't interfere with the look of her uniform in any way ... fine,'' Ms Troute said.

- APNZ

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