Saipan – The owners of the Saipan Grand Hotel have prevailed in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against them by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC].
The EEOC had alleged that Tomas Alegre, the then hotel’s restaurant manager, subjected band singer Michelle Bunoan to unwelcome touching inside her hotel room in the early morning of Jan. 2, 2008.
Alegre, who now lives in the Philippines, said in his deposition that he had a consensual relationship with Bunoan.
But the EEOC charged that the Grand Hotel allowed singer Bunoan to be subjected to sexual harassment that was severe enough to create a hostile, abusive work environment.
But a District Court Jury in Saipan disagreed, acquitting the hotel of the charge.
On the special verdict forms they were given yesterday [Tuesday] the jurors answered “no” to the question: “Did plaintiff EEOC prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendants subjected the singer to a sexually abusive or hostile work environment?”
The EEOC said it intends to appeal the verdict.
This was the first EEOC jury trial in the CNMI, but not the first lawsuit filed by the federal agency here.
Employers who were previously sued in the NMI had all opted to settle.