If a crewmember's employment is terminated, should the superyacht's management company find that crewmember their next job?
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.”