Corina Capunitan-Yap, Anna Rowena Rosales, Jazziel Granada and Natano were fired from their jobs at the Bon Secours Hospital last April 16.I can understand a rule like this in trauma situations, where there are obvious concerns about communication. But the Bon Secours policy sounds way too broad, without clear guidelines to be fairly implemented or followed without incident. So you utter a non-English word on your snack break and you're fired? Just like that?
"I feel I was harassed and discriminated against because of my national origin," Natano explained.
"They claimed they heard us speaking in Pilipino and that is the only basis of the termination. It wasn't because of my functions as a nurse. There were no negative write-ups, no warning before the termination," she added.
Last November, Bon Secours imposed for the first time an English-only language policy in the Emergency Room, the nurses said.
Many hospitals, especially those with foreign medical staff, implement the rule in trauma facilities because it's critical everyone understand each other as they respond to life-and-death situations.
They were asked to sign the hospital's "Emergency Department Expectations" that set the length of their lunch and snack breaks; lays down when they can take a rest; and directs that English should be the only language spoken while the nurses are on ER duty.
These employees weren't even properly informed or given documentation about the alleged violations. What did they say? What was the context? Nobody has any idea. The Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission has filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the fired nurses.