Former IPI employee alleges unlawful practices of recruiting non-US citizens


A former employee of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that he was terminated because he complained to IPI management about the company’s practice of recruiting non-U.S. citizens and non-local applicants instead of qualified U.S. and CNMI citizens.

Joshua Gray, a CNMI citizen, is suing IPI in the U.S. District Court for the NMI for wrongful termination in violation of public policy (immigration violations), wrongful failure to hire, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Gray, through William M. Fitzgerald, is demanding unspecified damages.

As of press time, Saipan Tribune was still trying to obtain comments from IPI.

According to Gray’s complaint filed Friday, IPI recruited Gray to work as a director for operations in July 2015.

In late 2017, Fitzgerald said, Gray complained to IPI that the company was violating immigration law and CNMI public policy by failing to hire qualified U.S. and local applicants.

Gray complained that IPI was implementing a policy of recruiting non-U.S. citizens solely from Asian countries and employing them instead of qualified U.S. and CNMI citizens.

Fitzgerald said Gray informed IPI that it had to stop these practices.

The lawyer said it was common knowledge that IPI’s Pacific’s U.S. citizen employees were not to apply for jobs posted on the CNMI Job Vacancy Announcement website for executive level positions because these jobs were to be filled by Chinese or non-U.S. citizens.

IPI allegedly terminated Gray’s employment on Jan. 24, 2018, without reason or justification and done nothing to merit termination. The termination, Fitzgerald said, was clearly in retaliation.

Fitzgerald said pointed out that in June 2016, Gray applied for the position of vice president of IPI’s hotel operations.

The lawyer said Gray was never given an interview pursuant to his application for the position even though he was the most qualified.

Instead, IPI allegedly simply gave the position to Eddy Ram, a citizen of Singapore.

In March 2017, Gray allegedly applied for the position of vice president of talent and property management.

Fitzgerald said Gray was never given an interview even if he was the most qualified; IPI simply gave the position to Albert Ng, a citizen of Singapore.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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