London Casino Worker Wins $92K Discrimination Case Over After Work Drinks

Posted on: May 23, 2022, 05:44h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2022, 10:45h.

A former London casino worker has been awarded £74,113 (US$93,200) by an employment tribunal judge.

London casino discrimination Aspers tribunal
Workers toast drinks during happy hour. A former London casino worker has been awarded more than $92,000 for being left out of such an after-work gathering among colleagues. (Image: Shutterstock)

Rita Leher, 51, was one of the original workers at Aspers Casino in London’s Westfield Stratford City when the facility opened in the fall of 2011. More than a decade later, Leher brought a discrimination complaint against her employer regarding an incident involving her not being invited to an after-work social gathering.

Leher, who has since left Aspers, worked as a casino cashier. She says being of mixed race — predominantly of black African heritage — caused problems with her immediate coworkers. Leher had complained to management that she was being discriminated against by certain coworkers.

When those coworkers organized an after-work, off-site happy hour and she was the lone person left off the invite list, she filed a formal discrimination complaint in an employment tribunal. Last week, Employment Judge Sarah Moor agreed with Leher that she was wrongly subjected to discrimination.

We unanimously agree that being excluded from discussions at work about a social occasion amongst colleagues when one would normally be included would subject an employee to a detriment at work,” Moor wrote in her judgment. “The occasion was sufficiently linked to work by the fact that it was amongst work colleagues and was discussed about at work and would provide the opportunity for team bonding.”

Moor ruled that Leher was entitled to monetary damages for “injury to feelings” plus financial loss due to her resigning from the casino.

The Aspers Casino is one of the largest gaming venues in the UK. The gaming floor has more than 150 slot machines and 70 live dealer table games. The Aspers poker room is billed as the biggest in the country.

Worker Threatened

Tribunals in the UK act as lower-level courts. Tribunal judges adjudicate disputes arising in special cases where a serious criminal act might not have been committed, but plaintiffs were nonetheless wronged.

Tribunal hearings are slightly less formal than court proceedings, as they’re built to allow commoners to represent themselves without an attorney. But as made evident by last week’s ruling, tribunals can still come with considerable penalty repercussions.

The employment tribunal judge agreed with Leher that after she raised a discrimination complaint at work, she was threatened by a member of management over raising additional grievances. Leher said she was told that she would face disciplinary action if she did “with insufficient evidence.”

Aspers Ownership

Aspers Casino is owned and operated by the Aspers Group. The UK-based gaming firm’s portfolio consists of four casinos. Along with Aspers Casino Stratford, Aspers controls Aspers Northampton, Aspers Newcastle, and The Casino Milton Keynes.

Aspers Group is set to soon have a new owner with the Blackstone Group. The New York private equity giant is proceeding with its $6.6 billion acquisition of Australian casino operator Crown Resorts and its three luxury resort properties. Crown has held a 50% stake in Aspers Group since 2011.

Last week, Crown Resorts shareholders approved the Blackstone bid.