Former Casino Nanaimo employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Company (GCGC). The employees were allegedly forced to sacrifice vacation money and other employee benefits, according to the plaintiffs in the case. Resort Richmond and the River Rock Casino are two of GCGC’s casinos in Canada. The GCGC’s actions, according to the 27 former employees, caused unnecessary hardship during the pandemic.

The Casino Nanaimo has been permanently closed since March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related conditions.

Casino Employees Allegedly Denied Benefits

The Casino Nanaimo was one of the few non-unionized GCGC casinos, unlike the others. Former employees claim that the company never supplied them with clear information regarding their employment status during what was intended to be a temporary closure. Former employees claim they never agreed to the company’s decision to extend their temporary layoff period.

Employees were allegedly paid with envelopes of cash from the trunk of a senior manager’s car, according to court documents. The same employees claim that they were forced to accept the GCGC’s buyout proposal. They claim the company offered them one week’s pay for every year of service, capped at eight weeks.  Former casino employees were no longer eligible for employment insurance as a result of the buyout. They then claim that GCGC failed to inform them that the temporary layoffs had become permanent.

GCGC’s Dark History

This isn’t the first time that GCGC have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons.  Former CEO Rod Baker was forced to resign in January 2021 due to charges of money laundering. If found guilty on the charges, Baker faces of more than six months in prison.
Baker is no stranger to controversy. He and his wife attempted to jump the vaccination queue.

The GCGC’s Richmond River Casino was also involved in a money-laundering scheme, while the Nanaimo Casino was accused of laundering money through the BC Lottery Corporation.

Canadian Casinos Set to Reopen

During the pandemic, Canadian casinos, like those in the United States, were closed for the majority of 2020. The casino industry has reopened across Canada as vaccination rates have improved in the United States and Canada. The GCGC still have casinos in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Novia Scotia.

Documents presented to the court claim that the GCGC violated local employment laws, forcing former employees through unnecessary hardship. Due to unjustified or constructive termination, the former employees are claiming punitive damages. The GCGC has refused to comment on the ongoing court action.