Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 12am







    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-3:37:55A.M.






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US court grants in part, denies in part motion to dismiss discrimination lawsuit against IPI

IMPERIAL Pacific International’s motion to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit filed by Joshua Gray against IPI was granted in part and denied in part by District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona.

Gray, a former director of operations of IPI, sued the Saipan casino operator for illegal termination and alleged that he was terminated because of his complaints regarding the casino’s immigration policy.

Gray, who is an African American, alleged wrongful termination in violation of public policy (immigration violations), race discrimination, wrongful failure to hire, and infliction of emotional distress in his complaint.

Judge Manglona dismissed with prejudice Gray’s allegations of wrongful failure to hire.

The judge granted without prejudice IPI’s motion to dismiss Gray’s complaint of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, wrongful failure to hire, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

This means that Gray can replead these claims in a second amended complaint as directed by the judge’s order.

She also denied IPI’s motion to dismiss Gray’s claims for wrongful termination based on race.

She said Gray has alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for relief under the law based on all the events that led to his termination of employment on Jan. 24, 2019.

Judge Manglona allowed Gray to file a second amended complaint provided that he replead intentional infliction of emotional distress claim if he can allege specific facts showing how the racial discrimination he experienced was outside the normal course of employment.

Attorney William Fitzgerald represents Gray in the lawsuit while attorney Kelley Butcher represents IPI, which has denied the allegations.

In his lawsuit, Gray alleged that in late 2017, IPI implemented a policy of recruiting non-U.S. citizens solely from Asian countries and employing them instead of qualified U.S. citizens. He said he complained to IPI management that it was violating the immigration law and public policy of the CNMI by failing to hire qualified U.S. and local applicants for jobs.

He said he was terminated on Jan. 24, 2019 “without reason or justification,” alleging that the termination was in retaliation for his complaints.