22nd April 1915
German staff wrongly dismissed during First World War
The then owners of Jersey’s Grand Hotel found themselves in the dock when they dismissed their foreign staff following the outbreak of the First World War. Fritz Yenny, who wasn’t German but Swiss, had been employed as the hotel’s manager on a series of three-year contracts. He’d signed his most recent contract in 1913, in exchange for an annual salary of £250, a percentage of the profits, and free board and lodgings.
All had been well until the outbreak of war when profits, which had been increasing year on year, took a steady tumble. Visitors stayed away and the owners shut the hotel. Fritz Yenny was dismissed, which he claimed constituted wrongful dismissal.
Matters were complicated by the fact that the hotel also employed German and Austrian staff. They had been allowed to stay on, even after its closure, on the basis that they constituted prisoners of war, and were only dismissed by the owners when they’d asked them what their nationalities were. With the other staff gone, there was no need to retain Yenny as there was nobody for him to manage. The court found that Yenny had been wrongfully dismissed and ordered the hotel managers to pay him £87 compensation.
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