Woman sues IPI, pit manager for sexual harassment

YUQIN Gui named Stephen Brown, a pit manager employed by Imperial Pacific International, and IPI as defendants in a lawsuit she filed in the District Court for the NMI.

Represented by attorney William M. Fitzgerald, Gui is accusing Brown of sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. As for IPI, Gui sued it for negligent supervision and ratification.

Gui wants the court to issue an order against Brown for damages for sexual harassment and intentional and outrageous conduct, causing pain, suffering and severe emotional distress.

Her lawsuit also demands an award of damages against IPI for “failure to adequately screen and educate its supervisors to prevent sexual predators in a position of authority over female employees; [for failure to prevent them from] sexually abusing these employees; and for ratifying the abhorrent sexual harassment perpetrated upon Gui by Brown.”

According to the lawsuit, Gui was a pit supervisor employed by IPI since Sept. 10, 2015 and Brown was a pit manager who “had direct supervisory power and authority over her while she was working.”

Gui and Brown initially had cordial professional work relations and became aware that they were adjoining neighbors in company provided apartment housing, the lawsuit stated.

As neighbors and work associates, Brown and Gui maintained a friendly relationship and had social interactions outside work and had social phone calls, but never had any romantic or sexual relationship, the lawsuit stated.

In late Jan. 2017, it alleged, Brown’s phone communications changed, and he began to exhibit a sexual interest in Gui.

Gui “did not wish to offend Brown but indicated that she had an existing relationship with another individual and was not interested in anything more than a friendly relationship with Brown.”

Gui said her lack of romantic interest “did not affect Brown as he continued to communicate via text messaging with her on a daily basis [even] requesting to have video conference with her.”

She alleged that Brown sent her an explicit photo of himself.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, she said Brown was texting and calling Gui multiple times every day.

She said she did not know “how to respond to the constant improper communications by her American supervisor, Brown; as she was concerned about her tenuous job security as a Chinese CW-1 worker; and lack of understanding of American worker rights.”

Gui also alleged that during working hours, on more than one occasion, Brown would approach and touch her without her consent.

In an effort to stop the communications and harassment from Brown, Gui said she falsely told Brown that she had a new roommate and could no longer accept his requests for video conferencing.

But she said Brown asked her to join him in his car to “talk” instead “to which she never consented.”

Gui alleged that Brown retaliated with various false accusations of her committing mistakes while she worked as a dealer.

On Sept. 25, 2017, Gui said she filed a complaint against Brown with IPI’s human resource department, requesting for an investigation to find out if Brown’s hostile actions were in fact caused by mistakes made by her in her work, or if they were reprisals for her refusal to agree to Brown’s sexual requests.

But she said she was not contacted back by HR.

“Despite this and despite the filing of Gui’s complaint, during the months of October, November and early December 2018, IPI did nothing to investigate the complaint but to the contrary Gui was informed that Brown had been given a promotion in December 2018,” the lawsuit stated.

On December 3 and 4, 2018, she said Brown again began texting her, “requesting videoconferencing for his sexual gratification.”

Gui said she did not consent to these requests, “but viewed them with apprehension as a resumption of his abhorrent conduct.”

She said she was worried that because the company viewed Brown so favorably, she would be required to submit to his requests for sexual favor in order to protect her job and status on Saipan.

In December 2018, she reported to an IPI supervisor that Brown was again texting her explicit sexual statements and requests. She then received a phone call from a different supervisor, who said he had forwarded her complaint to IPI’s HR.

On Dec. 21, 2018, IPI’s HR called Gui for an interview, which she said was never conducted because she fainted and was taken to the hospital.

Variety was unable to get a comment from IPI, which is facing several lawsuits in court.