DLNR to pay ex-biologist unpaid wages while she was pregnant

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The Department of Lands and Natural Resources-Division of Fish and Wildlife has agreed to a confidential settlement to pay a former wildlife biologist her earned and unpaid salary, leave time, repatriation costs, damages for medical fees, lost or damaged household goods, and other court costs in the suit alleging discrimination due to her pregnancy.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge David O. Carter on Tuesday granted the parties’ stipulation and dismissed the lawsuit filed by Dr. Anne Orlando back in 2018 with prejudice, meaning the case cannot be filed again.

According to the agreement reached between the parties, Orlando and the CNMI government have executed a confidential settlement agreement and release, and that the parties are bound by this agreement. The district court will still retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement and all of its terms.

The agreement was signed by Orlando’s counsel, attorney Mark Scoggins, and assistant attorney general Keisha Blaise who represents the government.

According to her complaint dated 2018, Orlando claims that DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente, DFW director Manuel Pangelinan, and former DFW acting director Mike Tenorio discriminated against her due to her pregnancy. The former wildlife biologist further alleged that the defendants constructively terminated her by failing to pay her salary, wages and or/leave time and benefits. Orlando argued that the defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract.

As relief, Orlando asked the court to order the defendants to pay her earned and unpaid salary, leave time, repatriation costs, damages for medical fees, lost or damaged household goods, and other court costs.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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