Decision to be made on IPI discrimination lawsuit shortly

Imperial Pacific International

A discrimination lawsuit filed against Imperial Pacific International from the company’s former director of operations has been placed under advisement by the District Court of the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona after a motion hearing on Wednesday, Marianas Variety reports. 

Manglona said a written decision will be issued shortly.

The lawsuit stems from Joshua Gray’s alleged illegal termination earlier this year, which he says was a result of complaints again the casino’s immigration policy. Gray is suing the company for wrongful termination in violation of public policy (immigration violations), race discrimination, wrongful failure to hire, and infliction of emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, in late 2017, Gray complained to IPI management that it was violating immigration law by recruiting non-U.S. citizens solely from Asian countries, instead of qualified US and CNMI citizens.

He was terminated on Jan 24, 2019. 

Gray said he was terminated without reason or justification, alleging that the termination was in retaliation for his numerous complaints.

However, IPI has denied the allegations and has asked the court to dismiss the case.

IPI attorney Kelley Butcher says that Gray was an “at-will” employee and could be terminated at any time without cause. He also said Gray cites no actual public policy or statute to support his wrongful termination and only makes a vague reference to “immigration laws”.

As for Gray’s allegation of discrimination due to his African American ancestry, Butcher said the plaintiff does not allege facts that indicate his race was a factor.

“There can be no doubt that he only relies on national origin as the sole basis for his discrimination allegations,” she said. 

Butcher added that the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim should be dismissed as a matter of law and should be barred by the exclusivity provision of the CNMI Workmen’s Compensation Act.