Dealer T.R. wins court case against her employer Rouge et Noir Casino

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Rouge et Noir Casino condemned by court to pay employee full salary 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Rouge et Noir casino in January of this year unilaterally decided to send T.R. home because Management claimed that there was no work for her as Dealer. Prior to sending her home, a change in function from Dealer to Bar attendant was “mentioned” to her, which she didn’t immediately accepted as she had certain questions which weren’t answered. Despite having complained at the Labor Department and the Union, Rouge Et Noir didn’t allow her back to work as Rouge et Noir claimed that there was no work as dealer, the bar work was refused by Rogers and was in the meantime offered to someone else. Her salary from end January was not paid.

T.R. subsequently engaged the services of Attorney Cindy Marica of Mariflex Attorneys. Rouge et Noir was summoned by Attorney Marica to allow T.R. back at work and to pay her outstanding wages. After lengthy correspondence, Rouge Et Noir allowed T.R. back to work in April 2021, but – for unknown reasons – demanded that she worked as a cleaner. The salary from January 2021 was however not paid and in addition, Rouge et Noir unilaterally reduced T. work hours with 50% and thus her salary with 50%.

As it was clear that T.R. was being treated unfairly and the actions of Rouge et Noir deemed unlawful, summary proceedings were initiated against Rouge et Noir. T.R. who has been employed for 30 years, is of the opinion that she has been treated discriminatory, as others who started working after her, were still working full time and/or in their regular positions. It was clear that the change of function from Dealer to cleaner with 50% reduced workhours and salary, was unlawful and T.R. had to be paid her full outstanding wages. T.R. never agreed to a change of her function and/or workhours.

Based on standard jurisprudence, an Employer cannot unilaterally change the work conditions of an Employee. Whilst it is a fact that business is negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and employees also are obliged to act “as good employees” and thus in principle can reasonably be expected to accept some change in their conditions, an Employer can never force any unilaterally changes in the labor agreement unto an employee.

The Employers at all times should enter into negotiations with the Employees and attempt to reach a reasonable arrangements taken into consideration all circumstances. A petition should be submitted to the Labor Department or the Court to request permission to change Labor conditions if no arrangements can be made. Details on the financial situation of the Company and a social plan as well as a proper motivation for the changes is necessary.

During the case, mention was made of the fact that, especially given the series of sudden warning letters to T.R., she felt that Rouge et Noir wanted to discontinue the labor agreement with her and was looking for grounds to do so. The Court also had that impression and suggested to Rouge Et Noir that there were different legal ways to reach to a termination. The Court advised Rouge et Noir to choose the “royal route” in exploring a termination settlement with an employee as T.R. who has 30 years of service.

The Court in its summary judgment of today agreed with T.R. that the withholding of her salary for the period of January to April 6th 2021during which she wasn’t allowed to work by Rouge et Noir, was deemed in direct conflict with the principles of good employership.  The reducing of her work hours from April 2021 and even the (attempted) change from Dealer to cleaner are also considered to be against the principles of good employership.

Rouge et Noir was condemned to pay T.R. the outstanding wages that were withheld as well as to retroactively pay her full salary until the date the agreement is legally terminated. Rouge et Noir was also condemned in the legal and collection fees of the Attorney.

T.R. was very pleased with the outcome in her case.