Calif. Hospital’s English-Only Rule Spurs Filipino Medical Workers to File Suit

12/08/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Delano, CA—A group of Filipino medical workers filed a civil rights lawsuit against Delano Regional Medical Center, located outside Bakersfield, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, in connection with an English-only rule in place at the hospital. According to information provided by the New York Daily News, plaintiffs in the workplace discrimination suit contended that while other hospital employees were permitted to converse in languages such as Spanish and Hindi, the Filipino workers were told security cameras would be installed if they spoke Tagalog, even during their breaks.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a separate lawsuit in August, alleging the hospital’s policies created an intimidating environment for Filipino medical workers.

That particular lawsuit claimed other staff members were urged to inform their employers if they witnessed any Filipino employees speaking Tagalog, a language that is widely spoken in the Philippines.

“I felt like people were always watching us… Even when we spoke English… people would come and approach us and tell us, ‘English only,’” explained 56-year-old Elnora Cayme, who has worked at the hospital for nearly two decades.

An Associated Press report stated that even during their breaks, the Filipino workers were barred from speaking their native language.

EEOC attorney Anna Park contended, “They received different treatment at the workplace because of their national origin… They were harassed so when they spoke English, but had an accent, they were mocked.”

Fifty-two Filipino nurses and staff members are being represented in the pending litigation. The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for California Civil Rights Lawyers.

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