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Filipino Workers Sue California Hospital for Discrimination and Harassment over English-only Rule

December 9, 2010

In recent California discrimination news, that our Santa Ana employment attorneys have been closely watching, fifty-two California Filipino hospital workers have sued their employer this week, Delano Regional Medical Center, claiming that they were targeted by the hospital and discriminated against based on their national origin.

According to the lawsuit, the group of medical staff and nurses filed a complaint accusing the medical center of forcing them to stop speaking Tagalog, along with other Filipino languages, while they worked at the hospital. The hospital workers claim that they are being targeted, as they were the only ethnic group banned from speaking their language. According to the workers, Hindi and Spanish-speaking workers were allowed to continue speaking in their native languages.

The plaintiffs are reportedly also seeking to join the national origin discrimination complaint filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August of this year, accusing the hospital of enforcing a rule that employees can only speak English.

The Filipino employees were allegedly told in August 2006 that they could no longer speak Tagalog, and that if necessary, they would be strictly monitored by surveillance cameras to enforce the new rule. The workers claim that since this rule was introduced they have experienced a hostile work environment, with daily reminders that they must only speak English, even on rest breaks. In the EEOC lawsuit, the hospital has been accused of singling out the Filipino workers for reprimanding, and for encouraging other staff members to report them for speaking in Tagalog--creating a hostile tension between Filipino and non-Filipino employees. This alleged national origin harassment and discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC is reportedly seeking an injunction to protect these Filipino workers from discrimination in this medical center in the future. The hospital reportedly defended its rule for English-only speaking as essential to patient health care, and claimed that the allegations are baseless.

In a related blog post, our Ontario employment attorneys discussed a recent California class action discrimination lawsuit filed by the California Nurses Association accusing two San Francisco hospitals of discriminating against Filipino nurses in the company's hiring practices.

In Orange County, California contact our labor and employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today.

Delano Regional Medical Center Sued For National Origin Discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC), August 19, 2010

Filipinos Sue CA Hospital Over English-only Rule, The Monterey County Herald/The Associated Press, December 8, 2010

Filipino Workers Sue Calif. Hospital Alleging Discrimination Over Rule Requiring English, The Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2010

California Hospital Defends English-only Policy, Bloomberg, December 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)