London Tribunal Finds Crown Resorts-Owned Mayfair Casino Guilty of Race Discrimination

  • A London employment tribunal has sided with Tesfagiorgis, a former dealer of the Crown casino
  • According to her testimony, Crown allowed its players to use the N-word to refer to staff members
  • The casino also catered to players’ requests for “white female dealers only,” denying shift swaps
  • Crown Resorts is also facing the heat in Australia, where it recently lost its Sydney casino license
Employment tribunal document
An employment tribunal in London has sided with a former worker of a Crown Resorts-owned casino in Mayfair, finding the business guilty of race discrimination. [Image:]

A damning verdict for the casino

A Crown Resorts-owned high-roller casino in Mayfair, London made the headlines last year when one of its former employees accused it of racial discrimination. Now, an employment tribunal has finally sided with that worker.

requested “fair-skinned female dealers”

As reported by English media source The Guardian, the tribunal confirmed its decision in a written judgment this week. It agreed that the Crown London Aspinalls casino intentionally held back the plaintiff, Semhar Tesfagiorgis, from going on duty because the players had requested “fair-skinned female dealers” or “western looking female staff.”

After confirmation of the tribunal’s decision on Tuesday, Tesfagiorgis’ lawyer Shazia Khan of Cole Khan Solicitors LLP took to Twitter to commemorate the moment:

Meanwhile, Tesfagiorgis compared her victory to that of David versus Goliath. She said when she tried to raise the issue with her managers, she was “either shut down, ignored, or gaslighted.” The plaintiff added that the racism she faced was “not an isolated incident,” but acknowledged the time constraints facing the tribunal in its judgment.

The offenses in question

Tesfagiorgis worked as a dealer and inspector at Crown London Aspinalls for 13 years between 2007 and 2020. As reported by The Times, she first filed a claim with the London employment tribunal last year. It accused the members-only club of race and sex discrimination, indirect sex discrimination, harassment, and victimization – allegations she provided testimony for during her trial in July 2021.

Tesfagiorgis noted several incidents of racial and sexual discrimination at the casino during her trial. One such instance in 2007 saw a player call the plaintiff and one of her co-workers the N-word. Tesfagiorgis raised the issue with the casino but they failed to ban the patron, who returned two years later using the same racist language.

allowed patrons to refer to black gambling tokens as n***** chips

According to the plaintiff, the casino also allowed patrons to refer to black gambling tokens as n***** chips, and adhered to players’ requests for “white female dealers only.” Tesfagiorgis said that the latter resulted in the casino denying her a shift swap in 2015. Crown Aspinalls also allegedly segregated the plaintiff and one of her colleagues from a gambler in 2019 for the same reason.

In its final judgment, the employment tribunal deemed the granting of these requests by the casino as “less favorable treatment by the managers because of [the claimant’s] race.” The tribunal also noted failures in the casino’s training system, with just one slide on a presentation focusing on the behavior of patrons.

A bad time for Crown

It seems that Crown Resorts cannot escape controversy at the moment. In its home country of Australia, the casino operator has faced a long string of accusations and investigations relating to money laundering and affiliation with organized crime. Ultimately, this cost Crown its Sydney license, preventing the opening of its gaming floor in its AU$2.2bn (US$1.7bn) Barangaroo casino project.

an unprecedented step in Australian corporate oversight.”

Only last week, the Victorian state government ruled that Crown could keep its casino license in Melbourne. However, officials have confirmed that they will increase supervision of Crown Melbourne for two years in what they have deemed “an unprecedented step in Australian corporate oversight.”

Adding to its list of problems, the company also had to settle a lawsuit from its shareholders last Friday for AU$125m (US$94m). The case is related to the arrest of 19 Crown staff members in China in 2016. The workers allegedly tried to recruit high-value gamblers from China for the company’s venues in Australia.

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