Imperial Pacific, which one day hopes to be able to launch the Imperial Palace on Saipan, has had to deal with a lot of hurdles to bring that project to light. Granted, most of the hurdles were put in the company’s path by its own incompetence, but it still manages to jump over each one. As the Imperial Palace continues to be delayed, Imperial Pacific has been caught up in a lawsuit regarding questionable employment practices brought against it by former workers, as well as an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The latter conducted an investigation into the company and determined that it was liable for a number of violations and fined Imperial Pacific. The company has now agreed to come clean and will have to turn over $3.36 million to try and appease both workers and the DOL.
The money is meant to cover back wages, civil monetary penalties and damages related to a string of labor violations committed by companies contracted by Imperial Pacific. They reportedly did not comply with minimum wage and overtime rules, nor did they maintain adequate payroll records in accordance with law for a two-year period spanning 2016 and 2017.
Even if it were the contractors who were at fault, Imperial Pacific is in charge of the project and is responsible for the contractors’ actions. The acknowledgement by the DOL that violations were committed will most likely reinforce the lawsuit brought against it by the former employees, who were seeking compensation for a number of concerns, including lack of proper pay, hazardous working conditions and accidents.
Going forward, Imperial Pacific is now required to receive a deposit into escrow of $100,000 by each contractor to cover possible wage claims. It must also hire an independent entity to train supervisors on U.S. wage laws and has to pay for an independent monitor who will supervise and report on wage compliance. That supervision includes leading on-site inspections, reviewing payroll records and interviewing workers.
The payment ordered by the DOL is broken down into $1.58 million for back wages, $200,000 in civil penalties and $1.58 for liquidated damages. They are to be paid in three separate payments in December of each of the three following years.