A lower-level manager with Paddy Power was only doing what she was told when she extended credit to a bettor. However, her actions still warranted dismissal by Paddy Power parent Flutter Entertainment, a workplace adjudicator has now determined.
When Emma Phillips agreed to allow certain Irish bettors to place wagers on credit, the Paddy Power deputy manager was only following accepted practices. That “displaced loyalty,” however, led Flutter Entertainment, Paddy Power’s parent company, to dismiss her for gross misconduct in 2020.
Phillips wasn’t happy about the dismissal and submitted a grievance to Ireland’s Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The case ultimately fell on WRC adjudicator Brian Dolan’s desk, who recently issued a decision. The Irish Mirror reports that, while he acknowledged that Phillips was only following orders, she should have reacted differently.
When Doing the Right Thing is Wrong
Dolan admitted that, while possibly unfair and harsh, Flutter’s decision to dismiss Phillips was valid. The company had the responsibility to uphold regulations and its own values. In addition, Phillips was remiss in her obligations. The correct course of action would have been to report the conduct to her superiors, Dolan added.
Most businesses expect their employees to follow the orders they receive. Phillips’ case isn’t different. She started as a retail assistant in 2015, working her way up to become a deputy manager five years later. Now with a reputation at the company, she wanted to keep climbing.
However, in order to do that, she would need to make certain sacrifices. Having seen other customers receive credit at different betting shops, she probably thought she was in the clear when her boss asked her to do the same.
In addition, Phillips also thought it was a smart business choice. If she rejected the credit, the shop could lose business and economic viability.
The issue ultimately surfaced, however, and Flutter accused her of violating company policy regarding the issuance of credit, as well as falsifying cash shortages. As a result, the company felt it had no choice but to let her go.
IOUs a Common Practice
Phillips argued that allowing customers to place wagers on credit was a common practice that a number of shops employed. They allowed certain bettors, those most familiar to the shops, to phone in orders, and then show up later to make the payment. On other occasions, the individuals show up to place a bet, but forget to bring a means of payment.
However, Flutter does not condone the practice. It goes against its responsible gambling practices, the company states.
In addition to possibly facilitating gambling harm, there’s an accounting issue with issuing IOUs. The betting shop records the transaction on the day it receives the bet, which also means altering that day’s financial data. This will reflect revenue that doesn’t actually exist on that particular day.
Phillips repeatedly acknowledged that she knew she was not following policy or protocol. However, because what she did was the norm, she felt like she had to comply. In doing so, she lost her job. But she also uncovered issues that Paddy Power needed to fix.
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