Crown London Aspinalls Found Guilty of Racial Discrimination

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Being exclusive doesn’t mean discrimination is allowed. A casino in London has learned that lesson after an employment tribunal in the UK agreed with a former employee who sued over racial discrimination. The Crown London Aspinalls will soon learn how much its transgressions will cost, with a monetary award to be announced in the coming weeks.

Crown London Aspinalls Pays the Price for Discrimination

In December 2019, Semhar Tesfagirogis had had enough. After years of working in a toxic and discriminatory environment, the Black croupier was subjected to the last act of discrimination at the upscale Crown London Aspinalls and decided to take action. In this instance, Tesfagirogis and another Black dealer were taken off a gaming table at the casino because a patron wanted “females with fair skin.”

That was the last in a string of discriminatory actions at the casino, according to Tesfagirogis, but was part of a pattern that had endured for years during her 13-year tenure at the casino. According to her court testimony, she had repeatedly tried to get her bosses to make changes and, when her attempts were brushed off, her only remaining course of action was to sue.  

Lawyers for the casino indirectly admitted that the property had a history of discrimination. They didn’t acknowledge the practice outright, but they explained that the decision to remove Tesfagirogis was not about race, but about complying with a high-roller’s request, “no matter how unreasonable” it may be.

The tribunal panel didn’t buy the argument. In issuing a ruling, the panel explained, “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.”

Victory for Tesfagirogis and Workers Everywhere

With the case being ruled in favor of Tesfagirogis, the casino will be ordered to pay up. The amount of the award to be provided hasn’t been announced, but should be revealed in the coming weeks. If there is enough evidence to support repeated offenses over a long period of time, the payout could increase. However, certain claims that were included in the suit were forced to be dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed.

Tesfagirogis said after the verdict was handed down, “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.”

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