SWR settles employment discrimination lawsuit

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed yesterday an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former supervisor at Saipan World Resort against the hotel’s owner.

The dismissal was with prejudice, which means Sathiyapalan Kalarikkal can no longer refile his lawsuit against World Corp., which owns World Resort.

Manglona dismissed the case after Kalarikkal and World Corp. agreed to settle. She directed the court’s clerk to close the case.

The settlement agreement was not filed in court as of yesterday afternoon.

World Corp.’s lawyer, Rexford C. Kosack, submitted the parties’ agreement to drop the case last Monday.

Kosack

In a ruling last February, Manglona allowed Kalarikkal to proceed with his lawsuit after finding it to be not frivolous or malicious. She also stated that World Resort is not immune to monetary damages.

Kalarikkal filed the lawsuit or without a lawyer and was allowed to do so without prepaying any fees and court c

Kalarrikal was an employee of World Resort in early 2018. Although he does not directly state what his job was, it appears he was a supervisor at Oasis Massage within World Resort. He was working under an employment contract that expired March 31, 2018, and a CW- 1 visa that expired Sept. 30, 2018.

On Jan. 18, 2018, the hotel’s human resources manager Jun Ham allegedly informed him that the company would not renew his contract or apply to renew his CW-1 visa, saying that World Resort was closing the Oasis Massage.

He said Ham told him that “Indian massage is not in demand and your skill is no more needed”—a remark that Kalarikkal felt to be discriminatory and derogatory.

He asked to be transferred to another department but Ham allegedly responded that, while company staff and managers can transfer, supervisors cannot do so.

On Jan. 30, 2018, World Resort posted job vacancy announcements on the CNMI Department of Labor website for Oasis Massage’s staff and manager but not for Kalarikkal’s position.

On Aug. 27, 2018, Kalarikkal said, the SWR management issued a memorandum temporarily reassigning the Oasis Massage and the resort’s spa, including the spa’s supervisor, to another department but not him.

On Feb. 7, 2019, Kalarikkal filed his lawsuit, asserting that because of World Resort’s discrimination against him, he lost the opportunity to renew his CW-1 visa, and suffered unemployment and severe trauma to himself and his family. He demanded damages.

World Resort has denied the discrimination allegations.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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