Imperial Pacific Faces Lawsuit From Ex-Employees
Imperial Pacific has promised to construct a luxury integrated casino resort called ‘Imperial Palace’ on the island of Saipan but the project has been surrounded in controversy. The latest ‘issue’ to hit the casino operator comes in the form of a lawsuit filed by ex-employees.
The lawsuit accuses the company of human trafficking and human rights violations. This is just the latest in the line of accusations made against the company.
According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court, the company was in violation of several human trafficking laws. The case was filed by seven Chinese construction workers who worked on the Imperial Palace project. Besides the lawsuit, the ex-employees are also seeking compensation for the various injuries they sustained while working on the job.
According to the lawsuit, Imperial Pacific offered good conditions, high wages, and other benefits for workers to go to Saipan and work on the project. However, they paid large recruitment fees ($8,000 plus) to secure the promised employment and then found the promised benefits were not being delivered.
In a statement, those who filed the suit wrote
Plaintiffs were required to work over 12 hours per day without any rest day, and sometimes were forced to work a 24-hour shift. Even though Plaintiffs’ pay rate was already below the legal minimum wage, their employers systematically withheld a portion of their earned wages and often failed to pay them anything for weeks at a time.
Threats and Racketeering
Apart from these violations, workers were also subjected to cramped dormitories and dangerous conditions on the site. The promised green card for these workers did not arrive and their managers threatened them that if they left their jobs that they would not be able to get a replacement job.
Allegedly, one of the managers made death threats against the workers and boasted that the workers were in Saipan illegally. This forced the workers to avoid complaining to the authorities.
The brand image of Imperial Pacific and the under construction Imperial Palace casino resort has taken a beating. The company already has a negative track record when it comes to meeting construction deadlines for the proposed Imperial Palace. This formal lawsuit comes on the heels of various complaints and reports from employees working on the project. These reports are similar to what is detailed in the lawsuit, with workers being treated unfairly and the lack of safety in the work environment.
It does not help that Imperial Pacific has also been linked with allegations of racketeering. Overall, this has caused a lot of delays in the construction of the integrated resort which is supposed to be a major attraction for high-rollers.
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