A group of Filipino-American nurses have won a case of discrimination based on national origin and harassment against the Delano Regional Medical Center in the Central Valley of the state. Filipino-American nurses were required by management to attend meeting where they were informed that speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages in the workplace, such as the cafeteria and break rooms, with threats of discipline and suspension if they did so. The nurses alleged that other bilingual staffers were not treated in the same way.
The nurses also claimed that supervisors and co-workers often made fun of their accents and harassed them in front of other employees. The failure on the part of the hospital to prevent Filipino employees from facing this systematic harassment -- with more than 100 complaints of discrimination and harassment to management -- has resulted in a payout of just under $1 million. 69 employees were involved in the lawsuit.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center represented the employees in their suit, which resulted in the largest settlement for a workplace language discrimination case on the west coast and in the healthcare field. This landmark victory marks a turn against strict "English-only" policies which discriminate even in private areas of the workplace.
The nurses and other employees who came forward as part of this suit did a very brave thing by doing so, and will enable other groups who have faced language discrimination in the workplace to present their case.
Source: Hispanic Business, "Filipino-Americans Win Discrimination Case in California," Sept. 18, 2012