According to the lawsuit, the Filipino nurses were mocked and humiliated for their accents, prohibited from speaking Tagalog in the workplace, and were singled out and monitored by supervisors and co-workers who constantly told them to speak English. When they complained about discrimination and harassment, management failed to do anything about it.
The settlement is believed to be the largest settlement for a workplace language discrimination case in the West Coast and the largest settlement for a workplace language discrimination case in the Healthcare Industry in the United States. From APALC's press release:
The federal lawsuit began in August 2010 when the EEOC sued Defendants Central California Foundation for Health/Delano Regional Medical Center and Delano Health Associates, Inc. (DRMC) for harassment and discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In January 2011, APALC intervened in the suit on behalf of more than 40 plaintiff-intervenors who filed additional claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), including a claim that the hospital’s English only policy was unlawful.Under the terms of the Consent Decree, Delano Regional Medical Center will pay $975,000 in settlement of the claims of approximately 70 Filipino American hospital employees. The hospital must also conduct anti-discrimination training and hire a monitor to track workplace conduct.
Beginning in 2006 the hospital singled out Filipino American employees and prohibited them from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages at the hospital – including in break rooms, the cafeteria and in hallways – but did not impose the same requirements on other bilingual staff, according to the lawsuit.
Despite having an ethnically diverse workforce, Defendants allegedly required only Filipino American employees to attend mandatory meetings where DRMC management told them that they were prohibited from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages at the workplace, threatened to monitor them with audio surveillance, deputized all hospital employees to prevent them from speaking Tagalog, and threatened to discipline and suspend employees who were cited for speaking Tagalog. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital’s selective and discriminatory enforcement of the policy created an intolerable work environment for Filipino staff, who were monitored and chastised by supervisors and co-workers who constantly told them to speak English, ridiculed their accents, and humiliated them in front of their fellow employees. The hospital allegedly failed to take adequate measures to stop or prevent Filipino employees from being harassed, even after more than 100 Filipino employees complained about discrimination and harassment in a petition they submitted to DRMC management.
Of course, officials at Delano Regional Medical Center insist they did nothing wrong and settled the lawsuit only because it made financial sense. More here: Filipino nurses win language discrimination settlement.