Russian tourist refiles lawsuit vs DOL

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A Russian tourist whose suit was initially denied by the U.S. District Court for the NMI for lack of jurisdiction has refiled his lawsuit against the CNMI Department of Labor and his employer.

Denis Uvarov, a Russian tourist, is again asking the District Court of the NMI to intervene in the labor complaint he filed against Saipan Security Services, a security firm that employed him back in 2018.

Uvarov’s suit was dismissed last month because of lack of jurisdiction and because it was written in Russian.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona said that, aside from the complaint being written mostly in Russian, the amount in dispute did not appear anywhere near the threshold amount of over $75,000 required for jurisdiction.

Uvarov refiled his complaint last week, this time in English, and requested the court to award him $79,399 in damages. Uvarov named Osman Gani, operator and owner of Saipan Security Services, as his defendant. Uvarov wants the court to find Gani liable to pay him compensation for the actual work that he did plus overtime. Uvarov said the court should also find Gani liable for his suffering and harm to his health, caused by Gani’s alleged illegal actions.

According to his complaint, Gani offered Uvarov a job as a security guard back in Oct. 8, 2018, which he said he accepted because he needed money as his application for asylum was still pending. Uvarov said he agreed to Gani’s proposal of $5 per hour and was told to start work the following day.

Uvarov claims he was forced to work illegally to “not die of hunger and not live on the street,” as he stated in his complaint.

Uvarov added that Gani would usually pick him up for work and drop him home. Several times, Gani gave Uvarov money for taxi but there were times Uvarov was forced to pay his fare himself without reimbursement

Uvarov said that he became homeless on Oct. 24-25, 2018, after Super Typhoon Yutu hit the island, but that he continued to work for three more days for Gani.

Uvarov said he contacted Gani several times regarding the compensation that Gani promised him but Gani did not take any action. Uvarov said the last time he reminded Gani about his salary was on Dec. 10, 2018.

Two weeks later, Uvarov filed a complaint against Gani with the CNMI Department of Labor. Uvarov said in his labor complaint that Gani owed him unpaid wages totaling 166 hours, from Oct. 9, 2018, to Oct. 28, 2018.

However, CNMI DOL dismissed his complaint stating that Uvarov is a tourist and is neither a U.S. citizen, a CNMI permanent resident, nor a foreign national worker or a worker possessing some other non-immigrant status.

According to Uvarov, CNMI DOL should consider him an asylum-seeker, not a tourist.

Kimberly Bautista | 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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