USA: Labour case against Imperial Pacific and its contractors proceeds in Saipan

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26 June 2019

Labor case vs IPI, its two contractors can proceed

Author: Saipan Tribune (USA)

26 June 2019

The federal district court on Saipan decided… to allow the forced labor and human trafficking claims of seven Chinese construction workers against casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC and its two contractors to proceed.

The case, Wang, et al. v. Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI), LLC, et al., 18 Civ. 0030, involves claims arising from the plaintiffs’ work on the Imperial Pacific casino and resort project on Saipan. The first amended complaint brings claims for forced labor and human trafficking under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and the CNMI Anti-Trafficking Act, as well as claims under CNMI law for the physical injuries the plaintiffs suffered on the project. Plaintiffs are seeking monetary compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages. Each of these claims is brought against the three defendants in the case: Imperial Pacific International, MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co., and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI), LLC…

On April 30, 2019, the defendants filed motions to dismiss the various claims against them. However, in a decision dated June 24, 2019, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied all of the defendants’ motions. The court found that “…plaintiffs have stated a plausible [forced labor] claim against each defendant.”

Each of the three defendants must file an answer to the first amended complaint within 14 days...

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29 April 2019

USA: Imperial Pacific Intl. agrees to pay US$3.36 million for labour violations

Author: Inside Asian Gaming

“Imperial Pacific to pay US$3.36 million fine for labor violations”, 12 April 2019

Imperial Pacific International will pay US$3.36 million in back wages, liquidated damages and civil monetary penalties to the US Department of Labor following the latter’s investigations into labor violations on the site of IPI’s under-construction Saipan integrated resort.

The violations, committed by IPI’s contractors, relate to a failure to pay minimum wages or overtime and to maintain satisfactory records during a near two-year period from January 2016 to December 2017. The consent judgement, filed in the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, was signed this week by IPI Chairwoman Cui Li Jie, according to a report by Marianas Variety. Under the judgement, IPI will also “amend [its] payroll practices and require all contractors to amend and maintain their payroll practices by paying all employees an hourly rate in compliance with minimum wage and overtime provision of the labor law.”…

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25 April 2019

U.S. Department of Labor Secures $3.3 million judgment against Saipan casino developer for systemic wage violations by contractors

Author: U.S Department of Labour

The U.S. Department of Labor has secured a $3,360,000 consent judgment against the developer of the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel and Casino in Garapan, Saipan, for minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by contractors working on the construction project. Entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, the judgment orders Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific International Holdings, and its Saipan subsidiary Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), to pay $3,160,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to approximately 1,100 employees. The developer must also pay $200,000 in civil money penalties...

"This judgment demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor's strong commitment to ensuring employees receive the wages they have earned," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu, Hawaii. "We will continue to enforce the law and level the playing field, while simultaneously encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance, and use the wide variety of tools we provide. Violations like those found in this investigation can be avoided."

The Department's Office of the Solicitor litigated this case.

"In addition to providing $3,360,000 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and penalties, this judgment orders the defendants to adhere to an independent monitoring mechanism, and to take additional steps to safeguard the wages and working conditions of employees," said Regional Solicitor Janet Herold in San Francisco. "Regardless of where work is performed in the U.S. or its territories, the U.S. Department of Labor will continue to fully and fairly enforce the law and provide a level playing field for employers."...

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16 March 2019

Hong Kong owner of Pacific island casino sued over forced labor, trafficking claims

Author: Farah Master, Reuters

15 March 2019

Seven Chinese construction workers made the the Federal Court in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands.

They are seeking unspecified monetary compensation for pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.

...The filing, which names Imperial Pacific as well as its contractors, MCC International Saipan Ltd and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, alleges workers were required to work more than 12 hours a day and sometimes do a 24-hour shift.

It also accuses employers of withholding a portion of their wages and claims they often failed to pay them for weeks at a time.

...The filing states Imperial Pacific knew about, or at a minimum, "recklessly disregarded its contractors' exploitive and illegal practices" and that the company was repeatedly told about the use of unauthorized workers on the construction site.

Crammed into dormitories, often with no showers or air-conditioning, plaintiffs were made to work on a construction site that was extremely dangerous, it said.

"One Gold Mantis supervisor, who had already physically beaten another employee, threatened to kill plaintiffs if they disobeyed him," it said in the filing.

All plaintiffs suffered injuries including a badly burnt leg, scalded hand and partially severed finger, according to the filing.


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15 March 2019

USA: First amended complaint of seven Chinese workers against Imperial Pacific Intl. et al

[full text of the amended complaint]

Download the full document here