Crown-Owned Aspinalls Guilty of Racial Discrimination

Crown London Aspinalls, owned by Crown Resorts, was found guilty of racial discrimination against one of its former employees.

An employment tribunal found an exclusive London casino guilty of racial discrimination. Crown London Aspinalls was guilty of racial discrimination by allowing a request from a patron not to have black dealers at their table.

Semhar Tesfaiorgis sued Crown London Aspinalls over a racially-motivated incident in December 29019. The Crown Resorts-owned high-end casino prevented Tesfagiorgis and a black colleague from working after a patron requested “females with fair skin” to deal the games he played.

Judge Elliot led a three-person panel at a London central employment tribunal. Judge Elliot rejected Aspinalls argument for denying Tesfagiorgis and he colleague to deal. Aspinalls argued the decision was nothing to do with racial discrimination. The casino claimed there was a perception that it was necessary to accommodate any requests from patrons, even unreasonable ones, to further the interests of the company.

Judge Rules Against Aspinalls in Race Discrimination Case

A written judgement from Judge Elliot found Aspinalls guilty of the charges thrown at them.

“Our finding is that the claimant and her black female colleagues were held back from going on duty because they were not ‘fair-skinned, female dealers’ or ‘western-looking female staff.’ The accommodation of the request was direct race discrimination of the claimant because but for her race she would have been asked to deal to the patron. The granting of that request was less favourable treatment by the managers because of race.”

The same tribunal found an additional complaint about a June 2015 incident was race discrimination. The panel could not pass judgement due to the length of time passed since the incident.

Tesfagiorgis Compares Victory to David Versus Goliath

Tesfagiorgis, who has Eritrean ethnicity, worked for the member’s only casino for 13 years. She took voluntary redundancy in October 2020. Middle Eastern high rollers were the prominent clientele for a while. The casino now mostly caters for even wealthier East Asian patrons.

Several of these newer patrons referred to black casino chips as “n****r chips”. In addition, patrons continually made racial slurs towards and Tesfagiorgis and her black colleagues.

Tesfagiorgis compared her victory to David versus Goliath in a statement.

“I tried for many years to open a dialogue about racism myself and many others were often faced with but I was either shut down, ignored or gaslighted each time. The direct discrimination myself and other black colleagues received was not an isolated incident. Although the tribunal could not rule on past events due to time limits, they have acknowledged this was the case and for once Crown Aspinalls will finally be forced to do the same, for this I am grateful to the employment tribunal.”

The same tribunal is in charge of deciding a compensation amount for Tesfagiorgis. It will decide on the amount at a later date.

Tesfagiorgis’ lawyer Shazia Khan welcomed the discrimination judgement.

“We welcome the tribunal’s judgment and hope that it enables a root and branch reform of the casino and gaming industry to address the racist and sexist conduct that drove my client out of a career she clearly loved. The judgment forcefully dismissed Crown Aspinalls’ attempt to drive a coach and horses through the Equality Act 2010, and sends a clear message that there is no place for racism and misogyny in the workplace and that no one is above the law, no matter how deep their pockets.”

Crown Stays Quiet About Judgement

Apsinalls’ owner, Crown Resorts, remains silent on the judgement. Crown’s new board are settling into their roles and dealing with the fallout from the royal commission into its affairs. The royal commission found Crown Melbourne unsuitable to hold a casino licence, but let them continue operation. Furthermore, Crown paid $125 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought against it. Perhaps they will make comment in the coming days?