Tuni Parata was accused of misconduct at work, for carrying a wallet-sized New Testament in her pocket - a breach of SkyCity's uniform code.
A disciplinary hearing was held yesterday while her union (which fed the story to the media) called for the "completely absurd" action to be dropped.
Grainne Troute, SkyCity general manager group services, called the union's response "alarmist": "Staff are in breach if they carry items such as mobile phones, books and other items which might interfere with their full engagement with customers." But she said such a breach of uniform policies was not considered serious misconduct, and would not result in dismissal.
Ms Parata has previously been in trouble for waving a handheld fan, to cool down in summer. The union said she feared instant dismissal for any small mistake like the fanning incident, if the Bible meeting resulted in a "final written warning''. Ms Parata (in a tearful apology on TV One News Tuesday evening) said carrying a Bible's a vital part of her faith and relationship to God. Her pastor even got stuck into the issue, asking if she'd have met the same fate if she'd been caught with a Qu'ran!
Now, I can understand SkyCity taking action if Ms Parata was reading her Bible in work time or in front of customers, or was preaching to the poker players. But the small book in her pocket couldn't be seen, wasn't being used. Was SkyCity just being pedantic?
At the same time, why must she carry a Bible to feel closer to God, when a strong faith should do the trick? She surely can't believe she's in a snake pit of vice...as she's worked there for 16 yrs! And having been a union delegate she'd know her employer's uniform code, so was knowingly taking a risk.
SkyCity's now ruled Tuni can carry a Bible as long as it's a smaller size...but this could've been said quietly without any fuss!
So out of this over-inflated drama, SkyCity (already seen as preying on gambling addictions) ends up looking even more like the Big Bad Wolf. The union - screaming about termination - looks hysterical.
And Ms Parata...well, she just looks a wee bit naïve.