Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has been hit with a sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuit by a US federal agency on behalf of some female VIP service hosts.
On Tuesday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a US federal agency tasked with enforcing laws against workplace discrimination, filed a lawsuit against IPI in federal court, accusing the company of “subjecting female employees to sexual harassment, other sex-based discrimination, and retaliation.”
The alleged harassment dates back to 2015, when IPI was still running its Best Sunshine Live ‘temporary’ casino in a Saipan shopping mall. The suit claims Shirlene Loh and an undisclosed number of other female hosts were subjected to “sufficiently severe or pervasive” harassment by the casino’s high-rolling male patrons that created a “hostile work environment.”
The suit claims that IPI’s female hosts were asked to perform duties not required of their male counterparts, including changing into bikinis to swim with male VIPs. The suit claims IPI’s executive director Yuki Yu Xia, who was responsible for interviewing and hiring the female VIP hosts, ordered hosts to accompany male patrons to their villas with instructions to make the patrons ‘happy.’
Female hosts complained that they were subjected to repeated unwelcome sexual touching by male patrons, sometimes on Xia’s invitation to the patrons. Female hosts who complained about such treatment were subjected to retaliation, including “reducing their hours, imposing additional work duties, and terminating them or forcing them to quit.”
The EEOC issued IPI a letter of determination in September 2018 that invited IPI to discuss “informal methods of conciliation to endeavor to eliminate the discriminatory practices and provide appropriate relief.” That December, the EEOC issued IPI a notice of failure of conciliation.
The EEOC is now seeking monetary damages on behalf of the claimants, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct any future discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
IPI is already dealing with a seemingly endless litany of bad news, not the least of which is its inability to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in gambling debts from the same VIPs it allegedly allowed to fondle its female hosts. Tune in next week, when IPI’s perpetually unfinished Imperial Palace is discovered to be ground zero for a hybrid Ebola/SARS/Zika pandemic … and no one bats an eye.