Former hotel director files discrimination suit

CASINO: Imperial Pacific International, owner of the Imperial Palace in Saipan, is being sued by its former director of hotel operations. Dontana Keraskes/The Guam Daily Post

The former director of hotel operations has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Imperial Pacific International, alleging he was fired not only because of his race but because he had made multiple complaints to management about violations of immigration and local laws.

Joshua Gray filed the lawsuit in the CNMI District Court and accused IPI of firing him because he is African American and replaced him with a non-U.S. citizen Chinese woman.

Gray was recruited to work for the hotel in July 2015.

The following year, he filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for discrimination. After intervention by the EEOC, Gray was given a promotion and salary increase on Apr. 25, 2017, according to court documents.

In late 2017, Gray complained that management was violating the immigration law and local law by failing to give employment preference to U.S. citizens and CNMI permanent residents, and falsely certifying to the U.S. Department of Labor that all Imperial Pacific job opportunities were open to any U.S. citizen and that U.S. workers who had applied and been rejected by Imperial Pacific for employment were rejected for lawful job-related reasons, the lawsuit states.

Gray alleges workers were rejected solely because they were not Asian and the more he complained about the alleged violations, the more his job security was threatened.

In early 2018, Gray was demoted and complained to legal counsel that the action was taken in retaliation for his EEOC complaint.

He said he never received a response from legal counsel and that in November 2018, the Human Resources Department told him his name was on a list of people to be fired because management was upset about his complaints, the lawsuit states.

In January 2019, he was terminated. Gray alleges he was given no basis or reason for being fired.

He was replaced by a non-U.S. citizen Chinese woman.

Gray alleges IPI denies employment to white and black U.S. citizens in favor of Asians and accused the company of status-based discrimination and retaliation-based discrimination.

He is seeking damages to be proven at trial.

IPI is currently a named defendant in at least six other civil lawsuits pending in the CNMI District Court.

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