Another Lawsuit Filed Against the CNMI Department of Labor

May 14, 2009

The "exemplary" CNMI Department of Labor hailed by the Fitial Administration as being "better than the federal program" has yet another lawsuit filed against it. This time for denying a guest worker an extension to seek a new employer even when that worker had already identified a new employer. From the Saipan Tribune:
Paulina A. Ramos, through counsel Stephen C. Woodruff, asked the Superior Court to set aside Labor Secretary Gil M. San Nicolas' decision that affirmed the Labor administrative hearing officer's order that denied her request for extension.

Ramos asked the court to set a briefing schedule for processing her appeal.

Labor requires displaced foreign national workers to register with the Labor Division of Employment Services and allows them 30 days to find new employers.

Labor's policy and practice allow for an extension of time to transfer if the alien worker shows sufficient grounds to justify it.

According to Ramos' complaint for judicial review, she was unable to find a new employer within the 30-day period and, on Oct. 23, 2008, she submitted a request for extension.

Between the time of her Oct. 23, 2008, submission and receipt of Labor's response to that request almost two weeks later, Ramos found an employer who wanted to hire her. The prospective employer completed the required Employment Intent Form.

Woodruff stated that apparently solely on t he ground that it was one of three “identical form requests,” on Nov. 5, 2008, a Labor hearing officer issued an administrative order denying the extension request and ordered Ramos to make arrangements for her repatriation.

On Nov. 18, 2008, Ramos appealed the administrative order to the Labor Secretary. Ramos' appeal brought to the Secretary's attention that she has a prospective employer and included a copy of the EIF.

On March 17, 2009, the Labor Secretary affirmed the administrative order.

Woodruff said the form of the signature on this document suggests it was actually signed by someone other than San Nicolas. Accordingly, Woodruff said, the March 17 order is not valid.
Yesterday it was reported that documents in two other cases were signed by someone other than Labor Secretary San Nicolas.  It appears that the DOL has stacks of form letters that are readily on hand to disperse by someone who has authority to sign for the Secretary. 


May 18, 2009
In front of the TSL Plaza
There is hope!