Marianas Casino Sexually Harassed and Retaliated Against Female Employees, Federal Agency Charged
SAIPAN, CNMI — Saipan-based Imperial Pacific will pay $105,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. Imperial Pacific International, LLC, doing business as Best Sunshine International, was operating the Best Sunshine Casino on Saipan, where the alleged violations occurred. Imperial Pacific is a based subsidiary corporation primarily involved in the casino, entertainment and hotel/resort business, with a parent corporation based in Hong Kong.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Imperial Pacific violated federal law when it permitted its customers to sexually harass its employees, including sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, and sexual physical touching. According to the suit, an Imperial Pacific executive instructed a female employee to escort a drunk male customer to his villa, where she was forcefully kissed and subjected to unwelcome sexual propositions. The EEOC also charged that Imperial Pacific retaliated against female employees for complaining about sexual harassment by terminating them or forcing them to quit.
The EEOC further asserted that Imperial Pacific engaged in sex discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment by assigning different duties to female VIP service hosts than male VIP service hosts, including requiring female service hosts, but not male service hosts, to serve food and drinks to male customers, making them particularly vulnerable to unwelcome sexual physical touching and advances.
Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for complaining about it, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in the federal district court for the Northern Mariana Islands [EEOC v. Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC, dba Best Sunshine International et al., Case No. 1:19-cv-00017] after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief of $105,000, Imperial Pacific has agreed to review and revise its employment practices to ensure it is in compliance with federal law and provide in-person training in both English and Chinese for all employees on sexual harassment, including sexual harassment by customers, and retaliation.
Additionally, Imperial Pacific will create a 1-800 complaint hotline; conduct EEO compliance audits; establish appropriate record-keeping and reporting procedures; and retain an external EEO monitor in conjunction with an internal EEO coordinator to oversee compliance with these terms. The court will maintain jurisdiction of the case for the consent decree’s four-year term.
“Federal anti-harassment and anti-retaliation protections extend to all workers in the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes the Northern Mariana Islands in its jurisdiction. “Employers should be mindful of their responsibility to create a discrimination- and harassment-free work environment for all employees, including foreign workers.”
Raymond Griffin Jr., director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, said, “Unfortunately, sexual harassment and retaliation remain pervasive in today’s workplace. We are unequivocal in our steadfast commitment to enforce federal protections against all forms of sex discrimination and retaliation across our geographical jurisdiction, including the Northern Mariana Islands.”
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.