What should crewmembers expect from their managers if their employment has been terminated? From a legal standpoint, if the management company has employed the crewmember, rather than the owner having employed them, it’s the management company that has what Rebecca Thornley-Gibson, employment partner at Ince & Co, calls “a direct employment relationship” with the crewmember.
Legally, there’s no onus on a management company to find further employment for a crewmember whose contract has been terminated on board one of the management company’s yachts. However, some management companies believe there is a moral obligation to do this. “I think it’s important for a management company to do an exit interview and hear from the crewmember about what went wrong,” explains Graeme Lord, founder of Fairport Yacht Support. “If it’s just a case that the owner didn’t like the colour of their eyes, then they are absolutely eligible for re-employment and we should help them get another job.”
Glen Allen, captain of Fleet Miami, explains that in a fleet-based system the manager has the resources to more easily find new employment for the crewmember in question. “If I’m in a situation where it’s not working with one particular yacht for one reason, whether it’s a personality conflict or something else, I can move them to another yacht very easily,” he explains, adding, “I have had situations where I was directed to terminate someone, which I didn’t think was right, and I would personally go out and help them find a job.”
Where a management company also has a crew agency division, there can be a conflict of interests. While the manager might have access to a fleet of yachts, the question does arise as to whether it’s morally correct to gain money from placing a crewmember that’s just been fired from another yacht in the fleet. “We don’t have a crew-placement department, as I don’t think I should profit from my clients losing crew,” explains Lord. “So we do place a lot of crew, but we don’t charge for it.”
This issue is looked at in more detail in Issue 178 of The Superyacht Report. Subscribe and receive your copy here. (Managers and Captains are eligible for a complimentary 12-month VIP Subscription to the magazine – click here to apply.)