|Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2008|
The complaint states:
Defendants knew at least eighteen months before December 8, 2014 that their respective CW-l employment petitions were in jeopardy of being denied by virtue of numerous written warnings issued by the USCIS in the form of notices of intent to deny and notices of intent to revoke.
However, defendants deliberately withheld such information from the plaintiffs out of fear they would stop working and transfer to new employers which would have effectively shut down business operations and ultimately cost the Tinian Dynasty a significant amount of money.
Defendants also lied to workers about their legal status by falsely claiming they were still legally authorized to work notwithstanding the USCIS denial of their CW-l petitions in a self interested effort to keep the Tinian Dynasty fully staffed during a particularly critical period of time where defendant HKE was seeking to sublease its gaming and hotel interests to a foreign corporation called “Gain Millennia Limited”.The complaint:
Two exhibits attached to the complaint make clear that the employer defrauded and lied to the employees. Even though USCIS had notified the company that the CW-1 permits were denied, the company falsely told employees that they were in legal status to work.
The complaint details a letter sent to employees by Hong Kong Entertainment:
According to the January 19, 2015 letter, any worker who “disagreed” with defendant 18 HKE’s claim that it was “not unlawful” to return to work would be deemed to have “resigned” his/her job and processed out of the company. (Exhibit A)
Additionally, defendant HIKE threatened to remove any worker deemed to have “resigned” from the pending administrative appeal filed with the USCIS. (Exhibit A)
Defendant HKE’s use of such heavy handed tactics to bully employees back to work places the plaintiffs in the impossible position where they must choose between a) being fired for not “agreeing” to work illegally and b) working illegally and risk getting deported for violating their status as well as jeopardizing their chances of obtaining future status.It is amazing that this was put in writing! Read the letter signed by HR Director Florine Hofschneider:
Mega Stars also misled the employees. A January 12, 2015 letter to employees from by Mega Stars chairman, Wai Chan, also misled employees and urged them to defy USCIS regulations and break the law by continuing to work. The letter:
In these days I understand that everyone is concerned about the CW issue. It is a fact that it is so bothering because it threatens your legitimate working status in CNMI. Though that the employees filed a lawsuit in court to challenge USCIS’s decision for denying everyone’s CW status, and the company also filed the appeals within the dead line of 30 days from the denial letter date in Phoenix. These are the 2 things the company can do to protect both the company and all the employees within our allowed limitation. It is too early to see the results can turn our situation any better at this moment.
However, I am still optimistic. I am optimistic not because I lack knowledge to assess the risk of the current situation or just simply ignore it.I am optimistic because I can see the people in CNMI are supporting us, and they want us to go on with our business. With an immediately passed joint resolution from the House of Representatives and The Senate 2 days before Christmas to request the USCIS to reconsider the denial of our CW petitions, we can see that we are not alone in this challenge and believe that USCIS would not ignore the domino effect caused by the shutdown of Tinian Dynasty. Though I understand that Tinian Dynasty has a record of delaying staff’s salary in the past and that is also one of the reasons by USCIS in the denial of our CW petitions. But that is no longer the case since I took over the management of Tinian Dynasty and you all know that is true.
Another reason for the denial of your CW petition was the criminal case charged against Tinian Dynasty. According to our attorney that it is not appropriate for USCIS to deny our CW petitions at this point because the case has not gone to trial and there has not yet been any jury decision that the company is guilty or not guilty. The case should be finalized within the next two or three months as it set for trial on February 9, 2015.
And today, what matter the most is, I will not give up! Currently I am asking my managers to concentrate in preparation of the upcoming events such as Baccarat Tournament and Poker Tournament. And we have to be ready for a very busy Chinese New Year. To do this we have to put our fears aside. In fact if you understand the truth, you will not be afraid to report for duty as usual. At this point you should also know that in the United States, courts recognize that the immigration laws do not provide for criminal punishment for non-United States citizens who are determined not to have the authorization to work. In the case of Arizona vs. Unites States, 132 S. Ct. 2492, 2504, 183 L. ED. 2d 351 (2012) the United States Supreme Court said that “Congress made a deliberate choice not to impose criminal penalties on aliens who seek, or engage in, unauthorized employment.” Instead, any criminal punishment for such a circumstance is imposed upon the employer. Remember I am the Chairman of the corporation to hire you and let you work under this situation, and I may suffer with tremendous fines and possible prison penalty. But I am still willing to continue working here and pursue all legal means to prevent the injustice USCIS is trying to inflict on you, Tinian and the company continue to support me and the company in this effort.
Wai ChanIt's encouraging that an attorney filed this case. I hope that the employees win this lawsuit. They are victims of a self-serving employer who clearly deceived them. By withholding information on their immigration status, the employer put the nonresident workers at risk of deportation and jeopardized their ability to get other U.S. work permits or upgraded status in the future.