VIDEO: CNMI Report – Saipan Gran Hotel Acquitted of Sexual Harassment in Case Brought by EEOC

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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.

Hotel owners prevail in historic sexual harassment lawsuit trial

The owners of Saipan Grand Hotel have prevailed in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against them by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a band singer who alleged that a then restaurant manager of the hotel made sexual advances on her.

EEOC had alleged Grand Hotel allowed singer Michelle Bunoan to be subjected to sexual harassment that was severe enough to create a hostile, abusive work environment.

Jurors said “no” to the special verdict form’s question: Did plaintiff EEOC prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendants subjected [the singer] to a sexually abusive or hostile work environment?

It is the first EEOC jury trial in the CNMI as employers who were previously sued had opted to settle. EEOC said it intends to appeal the verdict reached at the U.S. District Court for the NMI.