Farmington Hotel Accused of Bad Labor Practice

7
2223
Amid reports of staff abuse, Representatives are pushing for the review of the extensive 20-year Tax Break Farmington Hotel enjoys.

House summons management, chief of security on issues why they cannot be held in contempt

The Management of Farmington Hotel, in Lower Margibi County, is undergoing a major investigation about unfair labor practices allegedly against Liberian casual workers, as well as the huge gap in payment between the local and foreign employees.

The Management has also been accused of using invectives (abuse) and intimidation, while assaulting vulnerable employees.

As a result of those serious allegations, the Management of the Farmington Hotel and its Chief of Security have been summoned to appear before the Plenary of the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 8, at 10:00 a.m. They are to explain why they (Farmington Hotel) cannot  be held in contempt after they reportedly prevented one of the members from carrying out an investigation on the basis of complaints raised by Liberian casual workers employed by the hotel.

The Lawmakers’ decision to invite the Management was announced on Tuesday, March 6 in its 15th Day Sitting.

The investigation of the hotel was prompted by a communication from Margibi County District #2 Representative, Ivar K. Jones, who requested the House to exercise its oversight by inviting the management of Farmington Hotel to answer to complaints of alleged bad labor practices against its workers, specifically the Liberian employees.

Rep. Jones said during a three-day retreat at the hotel that the Liberian casual workers reported to him and other lawmakers of being seriously intimidated and assaulted by foreign managerial staff.

Margibi County District #2 Representative Ivar K. Jones

“Insults and assaulting of local staff, intimidation of staff, and poorly prepared meals for local staff and denial of the right of workers to unionize are some of the claims the aggrieved employees have brought to my attention,” Rep. Jones said.

He added: “Honorable Speaker, fellow colleagues, in an impromptu meeting held in the cafeteria of the hotel on February 23, with over 50 local employees, they spoke of lots of bad labor practices by the Farmington Hotel Management. One of the workers who spoke specifically about the General Manager, Richard Robaix, has filed a letter of resignation because of the inhumane treatment against some of the workers.”

Though Mr. Robaix is yet to respond to a phone call this paper placed to him, another employee has complained of one Romeo Al Haja’s aggressive behavior against the employees.

“Honorable Speaker, distinguished colleagues, there are lots of alleged profanities being used on the workers which l cannot quote directly in my communication before this august body, because while each of the aggrieved workers were explaining their grievances, the Chief of Security, Alvin Tarpeh, disrupted the discussion by asking me out of the hotel. Also, the Human Resource Manager, Daniel Cephus, intimidated the employees by video-taping them, which shows gross disrespect to my Honorable Office,” Rep. Jones reported.

Following the meeting, Jones said that there have been a wave of threats against the employees. “As we speak, a memo has been placed on the bulletin, threatening them with dismissal,” he said.

According to an employee, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the meeting Rep. Jones held with the employees, the Farmington Hotel Management is threatening to dismiss some of the employees referencing the ‘Contract of Employment’ between the former General Manager, Ronald Stillting, and themselves.

The ‘Contract of Employment’ says either party can terminate the Employment Agreement by giving the notice required by the labor law. In cases of gross misconducts, Farmington said it reserves the right to dismiss an employee without further notice or payment.

Some of the reasons for termination include unauthorized disclosures of information to third parties by employees, internal documents or data concerning the employer’s affairs and general breach of confidentiality, as well as the use of employer’s property for personal benefit.

However, it has been gathered that some Representatives are pushing for the review of the extensive 20-year Tax Break Farmington Hotel enjoys. This means that for the next 20 years or more, the foreign-owned Farmington Hotel, unlike Liberian-owned hotels which do not benefit from tax breaks, will not pay anything into Government revenue.

Similarly too are a number of mining companies in Liberia that enjoy extended tax breaks of several years’ duration.

Our reporter contacted Richard Robiax through phone calls and text messages about complaints on alleged bad labor practices by Farmington Hotel. But Mr. Robiax has failed to respond up to press time last night, nor did he reply to text messages.

Farmington Hotel is situated on the west bank of the Farmington River and across the street from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Unification Town, Margibi County. It has 164 rooms, include three presidential suites.

7 COMMENTS

  1. These Lebanese bastards are not citizens and they treat our people and disrespect and abuse what more if they become one. Liberians need to be mindful of what they wish for.

  2. Our leaders continue to sign outrageous agreements to suffer our country and people.. The government will efficiently operate when it can correctly collect all its revenues so as to be able to pay its citizens.. and expenses..

    This is the same kind of contracts given Firestone with No benefits to the Liberian people and Firestone is making Ton of money out of Liberia… Our Lawmakers are so afraid as if when the agreement between Firestone and Liberia is re-visited they the lawmakers will die…

    This is the same scenario happening here again with Farmington Hotel.
    This is where most Lawmakers get good work performance by your constituents by thoroughly investigating these issues because they were brought out by those who stood in line to Elect you as their leaders…

    And properly seeking their interest win a lot for you and your family

    I will therefore, suggest, the Farmington Hotel be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the facts and make a recommendation to the Body…

    Also I suggest that the body review those agreements signed by previous administration and see if those agreements between Farmington are in the best interest of our country.

    P. Fahn Dormeyan

  3. If this matters is now of a concern. I will consider an investigation within the frame work of law and through investigation if found guilty of the offence a precedent should apply by way of fines and a hugh amount of fines .so that these incidents may not occurred as it is unacceptable in morden liberia

  4. The Ministry of Labor in Liberia should have been the first governmental agency to investigate the unfair treatment of employees at Farmington Hotel. All of a sudden, the legislative branch of government has involved itself in the business of settling a labor dispute. I usually give credit when an individual or a body of people perform a good service. In this matter, the legislators do not deserve a credit. The idea is that the Legislative branch of government is charged with making laws. The Executive branch of government enforces the laws. In the Farmington Hotel case, the Ministry of Labor should be the governmental agency that should launch an investigation.

    There are humongous issues in Liberia that the legislators could deal with. One of the most important issues is whether “minimum wage laws” are in the best interest of the country. Another issue is whether it is in the nation’s interest to go on and on without coins.I think that the legislators are on a fast-moving train that could derail.

  5. Dear readers,
    My name is being mentioned in the article but I do NOT have ANYTHING to do with the -alleged- current malpractices at the FARMINGTON HOTEL, as I have left in July 2017. Until that time staff has been treated fairly and with utmost respect. The employment contracts mentioned in the article, which I have signed on behalf of the hotel, are in line with Liberian Labour Law. I sincerely regret current developments but this is out of my control

  6. Dear readers,
    My name is being mentioned in the article but I do NOT have ANYTHING to do with the -alleged- current malpractices at the FARMINGTON HOTEL, as I have left in July 2017. Until that time staff has been treated fairly and with utmost respect. The employment contracts mentioned in the article, which I have signed on behalf of the hotel, are in line with Liberian Labour Law. I sincerely regret current developments but this is out of my control.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here