By Alan J. McDonald
Former first aid manager at Crown Casino, Audrey Gatt is alleging that staff were told to ignore a domestic violence incident and another where a chef was left with serious burns. Ms Gatt had also made more than 20 occupational health and safety complaints in her five months of service before her dismissal. McDonald Murholme Senior Associate Trent Hancock argues that Ms Gatt was unlawfully dismissed for making such complaints.
See below article for further details.
Former first aid manager reveals ‘widespread’ OHS problems at James Packer’s Crown Resorts – Australian Financial Review
James Packer’s Crown Resorts is facing allegations from a former first aid manager that the casino told staff to ignore a domestic violence incident because it involved a visiting south east Asian politician, and did not let a chef attend the first aid office until the end of his shift even though he had serious burns.
In a document filed in the Federal Circuit Court, Crown’s former first aid manager, Audrey Gatt, claims she witnessed and complained about more than 20 occupational health and safety incidents at Crown Resorts in the five months she was employed at the casino.
Ms Gatt says in March 2017, security told first aid officers to “ignore” a domestic violence incident involving a notable politician from south east Asia, and to leave the badly beaten woman alone to attend to her injuries.
She says the visiting politician threatened not to attend Crown in the future if he was exposed. She says she complained about the incident the following day.
Ms Gatt also claims that in February she complained about a chef who sustained extensive burns to his right arm but was made to work all day before being allowed to go to Crown’s first aid office for treatment.
She alleges when the chef asked his supervisor for permission to go to the first aid office, he was told there was no one to replace him and he needed to continue working. As a result he needed a skin graft, she claims.
“The chef was not able to speak English and was frightened he may lose job if he tried to argue or attend the first aid office without authority to do so.”
Ms Gatt says on another occasion, a heavy box fell and severed a staff member’s finger and security personnel was delayed in retrieving the finger, which meant the finger could not be reattached.
She says the accountants employed by Crown at the time “appeared more concerned with the staff’s blood having stained the money, and the resulting inability to then count and bank the money, rather than the welfare of the staff member who had just lost his finger”.
In a statement to The Australian Financial Review, Ms Gatt, who has worked in the medical industry for more than eight years and as a police officer prior to that, said work health and safety issues at Crown Resorts was “very widespread” and there was “absolutely 100 per cent without a doubt” a culture of ignoring serious OHS problems.
“Other employees would voice concerns with myself. Their concerns were completely ignored by senior managers and not taken seriously,” she said.
When contacted by The Financial Review for comment, a Crown Resorts spokeswoman said: “As this matter is before the court, Crown is unable to comment.”
Ms Gatt also claims a first aid officer who reported to her had to attend to a patron who had been stabbed in her hotel room without security guards because there were not enough guards on duty at the time.
This meant the first aid officer had to face the offender in the hotel room still holding the knife.
Another OHS incident involved Ms Gatt complaining about a food poisoning outbreak at the staff buffet restaurant. She says when it was later discovered the outbreak was caused by fruit salad, senior security operations manager Sarina Persall told staff to simply not eat there.
She says on another occasion when she complained about her and her colleagues’ shoulder pain from carrying heavy first aid equipment, Ms Persall said they should continue and were “sooks”.
Her employment at Crown was terminated in April, a week before a WorkSafe audit. She says she was told she was being dismissed for unsatisfactory performance.
Ms Gatt’s lawyer, Trent Hancock at employment law firm McDonald Murholme, argues she was unlawfully dismissed because she made more than 20 complaints about the occupational health and safety practices at Crown.
Ms Gatt wants compensation for losing her job and a maximum pecuniary penalty, which is currently set at $63,000.
The allegations come after three Crown Resorts’ Australian staff members were sentenced to jail in China for trying to attract Chinese visitors to its casinos outside of China.
Reference: Former first aid manager reveals ‘widespread’ OHS problems at James Packer’s Crown Resorts, Australian Financial Review, July 30th 2017