U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Saipan Casino Punished Female Employees for Complaining About Abuse, Federal Agency Charges
SAIPAN, CNMI - Imperial Pacific International, LLC, doing business as Best Sunshine International, which operates a casino in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in conjunction with Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd., an investment holding company, violated federal law by subjecting female employees to sexual harassment, other sex-based discrimination, and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Imperial Pacific fostered an environment where its customers engaged in unlawful harassment of its employees, including sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, sexual comments and sexual physical touching. The EEOC also charged that Imperial Pacific shrugged off repeated complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace and later retaliated against female employees for complaining by reducing their hours, imposing additional work duties, and 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 to male VIP service hosts.
Sex discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (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 prelitigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC's suit seeks monetary damages for a class of employees, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct any future discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
"Sex harassment remains a persistent problem," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Saipan, CNMI in its jurisdiction. "Employers should be mindful of their responsibility to create a discrimination and harassment free work environment and should not be fostering a workplace that allows verbal and physical sexual abuse and harassment."
Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC's Honolulu Local Office, said, "There is no excuse for sexual harassment and other sex-based discrimination in the 21st century workplace. When employers discover such unlawful practices, they must root it out rather than retaliate. This lawsuit sends a clear message to employers that the EEOC will not hesitate to enforce these federal protections across its jurisdiction, which, in this case, means across the Pacific."
According to its website, Imperial Pacific delivers world-class entertainment experiences for elite travelers by pioneering cutting-edge concepts in entertainment and tourism.
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. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.