Black workers at London’s Aspinalls Casino suffer racial & sex discrimination: Ex-worker

Aspinalls Casino

White players are kept away from black workers and blacks are forced to hear racial slurs at London’s Aspinalls casino, a former dealer alleged during a testimony presented before the employment tribunal.

Semhar Tesfagiorgis, a 41-year-old former dealer at the Aspinalls Casino, is suing the gambling club for alleged racial and sex discrimination that she suffered at the venue. She alleged that black employees like her worked at the gaming club in the United Kingdom in a racially-hostile environment.

Originally from Eastern African country of Eritrea, she was employed at the Aspinalls Casino between 2007 and 2020.

During the testimony presented before the employment tribunal last Thursday, she claimed that players voiced racial slurs at her and other black co-workers at the facility, and no action was taken against those players. Among those racial slurs, she had to hear the “N-word” on the very second day on the job. According to her claims, black workers at the members-only gambling facility were compared to gorillas, and some black workers were called “stupid f****ng black” girls.

She also alleged that when a player asked the manager of the casino to provide a different dealer, and a white dealer was provided. In 2015, the gambling facility would not let her change shifts just because a player wanted white female dealers only. In 2019, Tesfagiorgis and another black worker were kept away from a player who had asked for a white female dealer. Following that incident, the gambling facility’s chief operating officer, Michael Branson, told her that the player’s preference for a fair-skinned dealer might have been a “superstition.”

Tesfagiorgis was allegedly also told that she couldn’t have weekends off, while a white male co-worker was given his weekends off.

In response to Tesfagiorgis’ serious allegations, Aspinalls said the player who made the racist slurs at her was banned by management in 2009, and he was never allowed on the gaming floor again. The gambling facility also argued that Tesfagiorgis’ request for a different shift was turned down because the specific player preferred a dealer who would not interact with him during the game.

The management of the casino acknowledged that a black dealer was removed from a gaming table in 2019, but that incident took place due to an “error of judgment.” Later, that issue was addressed promptly as well as thoroughly.

But, Tesfagiorgis’ lawyer Shazia Khan insisted that the Mayfair, London-based members-only casino club’s behavior had an adverse impact her client’s health and well-being.