CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

TEACHERS WHO WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST CAN RECEIVE FUNDS UNDER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLEMENT WITH NORTHERN MARIANA SCHOOL SYSTEM WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One hundred and seventy Filipino school teachers in the public school system on the Northern Mariana Islands who received lower salaries and less favorable benefits than state-side American teachers can now receive their share of a $2.1 million settlement reached with the Justice Department. Judge Alex R. Munson, of the U.S. District Court on Saipan, on Friday approved the distribution of the funds to 170 former and current employees of the school system. The court has already begun allocating the funds provided under the agreement-- the second largest obtained by the Justice Department in an employment discrimination case based on national origin. The agreement reached in August 1994, resolved a 1992 Justice Department suit alleging that the Commonwealth violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by engaging in a pattern of discrimination against Filipino public school teachers. The suit alleged, among other things, that the Commonwealth paid Filipinos less than similarly qualified American teachers recruited from the continental United States and Hawaii, known as state-siders, refused to provide housing and transportation benefits to Filipino teachers, and provided less favorable conditions of employment to Filipino teachers than state-siders. Under the settlement, the Commonwealth, Board of Education, Public School System, and Commissioner of Education agreed to pay back wages and other benefits to those victims of the discrimination; develop a written policy prohibiting discrimination; establish guidelines to ensure equal pay for equal education and experience; and adjust existing housing and salary disparities for teachers. The school system also agreed to submit reports on its employment patterns to the Justice Department until September 1997, and allocate an additional $150,000 to be used to fund an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist position and related employment awareness programs. "We will continue to monitor the Commonwealth's Public School System to ensure it complies with the requirements of Title VII and treats all its employees fairly," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. Claimants who wish to pick up their awards in the Commonwealth can do so by presenting positive identification to the Clerk of the U.S. District Court, on the 2nd floor of the Horiguchi Building on Saipan. The Philippine Consulate and the U.S. Embassy in Manila have agreed to help distribute checks to claimants who currently reside in the Philippines. Claim checks will be mailed to claimants who live in places other than the Commonwealth or the Philippines. # # # 96-326