Central Calif. Hospital to Pay $975K in Filipino Nurse Discrimination Lawsuit

2012-10-19 23:03:35 (GMT) (Caymanmama.com - Law Press Release News)

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10/09/2012 // Los Angeles, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover // (press release)

Los Angeles, CA — A central California hospital has been ordered to pay $975,000 in a settlement involving a group of Filipino nurses, who claim they were ordered to speak only English while on the job, as well as being ridiculed for their foreign accents. The settlement is believed to be the largest language-discrimination settlement in the U.S. health-care industry, reports Eric Grover, a Los Angeles employment attorney at Keller Grover LLP.

The discrimination lawsuit filed in 2010 involved 69 immigrants who claim they endured “constant harassment and humiliation when they opened their mouths, or talked with family members on the phone,” at the Delano Regional Medical Center in Delano, California, the Bakersfield Californian reports.

The lawsuit also alleged that their bosses and coworkers were urged to eavesdrop on the immigrant workers, and were banned from speaking their native tongue, Tagalog, and other dialects in the break rooms, hallways, and the cafeteria. In fact, during a mandatory meeting for Filipino staff in 2006, they were forbidden from using their native language at “any time in the hospital.”

The workers allege that they were even threatened by the hospital’s former chief executive. “He would install surveillance cameras in nursing stations. Whoever was caught, they were threatened with suspension or termination,” according to one of the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs also reported that the imposed language policy fostered a hostile work environment. One employee even revealed that another worker sprayed air freshener on a Filipino employee’s lunch to state his “hatred for Filipino food.”

Delano Regional Medical Center administrators denied any wrongdoing, reports Grover, a Los Angeles employment lawyer.

The hospital asserted in a statement that it “made no financial sense for the hospital to continue this lawsuit and further waste valuable assets which could be better spent on the community’s health-care needs.”

Under the terms of the settlement the hospital must conduct anti-discrimination training and hire a monitor to track workplace conduct.

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