IPI (Imperial Pacific International), a Saipan casino operator is not having the best of times as they’re being sued for sex discrimination and sexual harassment by a US federal agency. The lawsuit was taken up by the agency on behalf of a group female VIP service hosts.
The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), which is a federal agency in the United States saddled with enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace, took the IPI to court on Tuesday.
They accused the firm of
“subjecting female employees to sexual harassment, other sex-based discrimination, and retaliation.”
The alleged harassment has been happening for a long time, as far back as 2015. This was the period where IPI’s Best Sunshine Live casino was still running in a shopping mall in Saipan. According to the suit, Shirlene Loh and a group of female hosts whose identities were not disclosed, were constantly harassed by the rich male patrons who patronized the casino. However, the casino also did not create a conducive work environment.
Details of the lawsuit also showed that the female hosts of the company were required to perform certain tasks that their male colleagues were not subjected to. Some of these tasks included wearing bikinis and swimming with male patrons.
The suit also claims that Yuki Yu Xia, the Executive Director of IPI, whose job is to interview and hire female VIP hosts, mandated the hosts to go with male patrons to their rooms with explicit instructions to make the clients happy.
Most of the female hosts made several complains that they were being touched sexually by these male patrons but their cries were not heeded. According to the hosts, the guests were sometimes given the go ahead by Xia. Any female host that complained were targeted and sometimes punished. Their punishment could range from reducing their work hours, imposing extra work duties, or in extreme cases terminating their contract or coercing them to resign.
The EEOC sent a letter of determination to IPI September last year.
They were invited to discuss
“informal methods of conciliation to endeavor to eliminate the discriminatory practices and provide appropriate relief.”
In December 2018, the EEOC filed a notice of conciliation failure to IPI.
The EEOC now wants to be paid for damages for the plaintiffs, in addition to injunctive relief with the intention of preventing and correcting any future harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
For some time now, IPI is battling with a number of bad news. A major problem they’ve been battling with is the debt owed to them by VIPS who patronized them. The debt is believed to be in the range of millions of dollars.