McDonough v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
Employees who allegedly exhibit rude and discourteous conduct, in violation of employee standards of conduct, can be discharged. Allegedly, customers complained that Kevin McDonough, who worked as a dealer for the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise, threw cards to them and dropped cheques in an uncaring way. McDonough allegedly told customers he was bored. Management investigated and reviewed surveillance tapes, which appeared to confirm the customers' complaints. When confronted, McDonough allegedly claimed that there were mitigating circumstances, because he had been experiencing back pain. McDonough was discharged, because he allegedly exhibited rude and discourteous conduct, he did not comply with employee standards of conduct and he did not meet standards of guest service. The president of the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise reviewed customers' complaints and the tapes and upheld the discharge. McDonough appealed to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court and argued that most of the evidence consisted of hearsay, discharge was overly harsh, and he should receive progressive discipline, as long as he did not engage in grossly indecent or obscene conduct. Title 8 requires that employees receive the opportunity to present mitigating circumstances. It does not require that the president discuss whether a condition qualifies as mitigating. The plaintiff was given an opportunity to present evidence about back pain. The president was not required to agree that back pain excused rude or discourteous conduct. The standards of employee conduct define "rude or discourteous" conduct as "verbal and non-verbal behavior which is impolite, abusive, degrading, disrespectful, humiliating, demoralizing or which subjects a guest or co-worker to hate, contempt, ridicule or scorn." Substantial evidence supported the conclusion that McDonough violated the employee standards of conduct and did not meet standards of guest service. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court dismissed the appeal.