Bar worker fired for serving free drinks

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 25/09/2012

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If you work in a bar and want to give your mates free drinks, think again.

A bar worker who served discounted and free alcoholic drinks to patrons at a Hanmer hotel not only lost her job for doing so, but was given a police warning for theft.

The Liquor Licensing Authority has released its decision on a police application to suspend Tania Thomson's general manager's certificate over her actions while working as duty manager at the Hanmer Hot Springs Hotel on July 12.

The authority said Thomson "provided discounted and free alcoholic drinks to a number of patrons without authority to do so".

Thomson received a formal police warning regarding theft by a person in a special relationship.

She lost her job as a result of the incident, the decision said.

The authority approved a police application to suspend Thomson's general manager's certificate, deciding on 15 days from October 15.

New Zealand Hospitality Association vice-president Reg Hennessy said he was pleased the authority was "taking that strong stand".

He said the days of bar owners "turning a blind eye" to staff giving free or discounted drinks was "definitely a thing of the past" because business was not as profitable as it once was.

"It's certainly the owner's right to give somebody a free drink, but unless staff were told they were able to do it to a particular group or person, it's definitely a no-no. It is a form of dishonesty," he said.

"With things so much tighter, we watch these things a lot closer."

He hoped this incident was isolated. "I think today those liberties aren't taken as much. Most businesses would pick people up doing that pretty smartly," he said.

The hotel had no comment yesterday. Thomson could not be reached by The Press yesterday.

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- The Press

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