A Hong-Kong based company has filed a motion to dismiss an employment discrimination lawsuit based on unequal pay. Turkish employees allege that Imperial Pacific Casino paid them less than their Taiwanese counterparts under company policies.

In Genc et al. v. Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC et al., case number 1:22-cv-00002, which is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support a theory of disparate treatment based on a lack of factual allegations. Imperial Pacific also attacked the workers’ proposed class definition as “improperly circular,” as the workers stated that their entitlement should define the class to relief.

The workers who filed suit as a proposed class consist of 107 workers of Turkish national origin, whom Imperial hired to work at its hotel-casino resort through the H-2B visa program in 2020 and 2021. They claim that all the management-level decision-makers at Imperial were Taiwanese or related to others who were Taiwanese. As a result, these individuals always intentionally set higher wages for Taiwanese employees than Turkish employees.

The three named plaintiffs were employed as construction workers and supervisors in their respective areas. While they were employed, they alleged that the company hired Taiwanese individuals to do the same job at significantly higher wages. In one case, Imperial hired Taiwanese workers at almost twice their salary. The men filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Imperial fired them the same month.