In the Philippines, the operator of the City Of Dreams Manila has reportedly lost a court action and been ordered to abide by a previous accord whereby it agreed not to employ any staff from rival Bloomberry Resorts Corporation within six months of their resignation.

According to a report from the local BusinessWorld newspaper, the 13-page ruling from the Court Of Appeals directed MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation to honor the arrangement it signed in November of 2014 while additionally ordering it to respect any non-compete clauses to which previous employees of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation may have agreed.

Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, which runs the Solaire Resort And Casino in Manila, reportedly brought the action after Miles Fong Hio Lon resigned as its Premium And Player Development Director in January of 2015 to start a new job as Sales Operations Director for Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Limited only a month later.

In its lawsuit, Bloomberry Resorts Corporation reportedly argued that Crown Resorts Limited’s hiring of Fong had breached its agreement with the City Of Dreams Manila operator as the Melbourne-based firm has a significant stake in Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, which itself holds a 68.8% share in MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation’s parent company, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corporation.

Fong, who worked with junket operators while at the Solaire Resort And Casino, was reportedly hired by Bloomberry Resorts Corporation in September of 2013 and his contract had included a 120-day notice period as well as a one-year clause that precluded him from joining any other company that owns or has an interest in a casino or hotel in the Philippines.

The court was reportedly told that Fong resigned from Bloomberry Resorts Corporation in January of 2015 and had asked that the notice period and con-compete clauses be waived. When this was denied, he allegedly stopped reporting to work and subsequently started his new role with Crown Resorts Limited in February.

In its defence, MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation reportedly argued that the compromise agreement did not cover persons employed outside of the Philippines while adding that it had been “impossible to prevent Crown Resorts Limited from hiring Fong”.

However, in its ruling, which was written by Associate Justices Jhosep Lopez, Ramon Garcia and Leoncia Dimagiba, the Court Of Appeals found that MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation had been obliged to inform its parent company as well as any subsidiaries of the compromise agreement it held with Bloomberry Resorts Corporation while it moreover pointed out that the agreement at no point specified that the employment restriction applied only to companies within the Philippines.

“No qualifying [statements] were placed in the agreement to describe the “parent companies” of respondent MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation,” read the judgement. “As we see it, the interpretation being advanced by the respondent seeks to unduly restrict the scope of the compromise agreement, which it has entered into with the petitioner. Respondent MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation specifically undertook to bind itself together with its parent companies and subsidiaries to comply with the provisions of the compromise agreement.”

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