Scantily Clad Saipan Casino Hostesses Forced to Swim with Male Guests, Harassment Lawsuit Claims
Posted on: October 2, 2019, 06:26h.
Last updated on: October 2, 2019, 08:10h.
Female VIP hostesses at Imperial Pacific International’s (IPI) Saipan casino faced continual harassment and intimidation by male guests, a recent federal lawsuit reveals. The allegations range from the workers being ordered to swim — while wearing only bikinis — with male patrons, to the men repeatedly improperly touching and sexually propositioning the women.
The legal action, filed last week by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claims that the employees at the Pacific island venue, identified as Best Sunshine, were additionally subjected to retaliation after they complained about the hostile work conditions.
Also, the hostesses “were allegedly asked to demonstrate a French kiss by male patrons, forcefully kissed on the lips by a male patron, pushed by a male patron onto a sofa with the intention of being forced to have sex with that male patron, and offered a house in return for having sex with a male patron,” the lawsuit said.
The women were told, too, to escort intoxicated male patrons to their villas and ordered to make them “happy,” the lawsuit claims. Male guests were told in front of the female employees they could touch the women, the suit adds.
The employees informed company officials about the unwelcome harassment. But the company failed to act, even though the alleged incidents took place almost weekly between December 2015 and October 2016, the lawsuit claims.
The company retaliated against the victims who spoke up by threatening them with firing. The original complainant quit her job from the pressure, the EEOC said.
The company allegedly also took away breaks from the women employees following the complaints. The company additionally gave them extra duties, the suit said.
Casino.org reached out to IPI for comment on the allegations. Company officials did not respond.
The EEOC administers and enforces US civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. Anna Park, the regional attorney for the EEOC, who is handling the suit out of the agency’s Los Angeles office, told Casino.org that “the case was brought on behalf of a class of women impacted by the alleged discrimination.”
The case will be tried in US federal court on Saipan. The island is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which is governed by US law.
Park says it is unclear how long it will take for the trial to be completed. It depends on the size of the class, Park explained.
The EEOC is seeking monetary damages for the class of employees, as well as “injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct any future discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”
Meanwhile, the woman who made the initial charges returned home. The class of victims are from different countries, Park said.
“Because we bring cases in the public interest, we hope to address the violations found by the EEOC and relief for not only the claimants, but also injunctive relief remedies to address the alleged harm in our action going forward,” Park said.
“Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem and we hope we raise awareness around these issues,” she added. “The EEOC takes these issues very seriously.”
Construction Delays, Back Taxes, Missed Payments
This is far from the only controversy facing IPI. The company’s Imperial Pacific Resort remains incomplete and continues to delay its opening date. Regulators have given the property an extension to Feb. 28, 2021.
The regional Commonwealth Casino Commission contends Imperial Pacific owes more than $70 million in taxes and missed payments to contractors. The company has also come under scrutiny for allegations of violating labor laws.
IPI has seen a lot of debt since opening a temporary casino in a shopping mall in 2015, according to Forbes. Since last October, “the government has collected just $41,000 in casino gross revenue taxes. That’s it,” Tina Sablan, a CNMI legislator, told the magazine.
Looking ahead, gamblers could get some options from junket operators on the island. It will be up to the regional Commonwealth Casino Commission if four junket operators will be allowed to operate on Saipan.
The proposed junket firms include American Bopan, P’Art Corp, Palm Tree Ventures, and Tropical Sands, GGRAsia said.
More Authority Possible for Casino Commission
The casino commission is also considering a proposal to increase its authority so that it has law enforcement powers, Marianas Variety reported. It currently is a gaming regulator, but a legislative proposal — House Bill 21-11 — would criminalize some illicit gaming and give the commission broader authority, such as to investigate gambling-related crime.