filipino american employees sue hospital for discrimination

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a group of former and current Filipino American hospital employees against their employer, a hospital located in the Central Valley, for discrimination and harassment on the basis of their national origin: Filipinos Sue CA Hospital Over English-Only Rule.

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, against Central California Foundation for Health d/b/a/ Delano Regional Medical Center and Delano Health Associates, Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that the hospital's policies violate various provisions of federal and state civil rights statutes. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent future discrimination, as well as financial compensation from the hospital. From APALC's press release:
The complaint states that DRMC discriminated against its Filipino American employees because of their national origin and subjected the Filipino American workers to severe and pervasive workplace harassment. DRMC prohibited Filipino American employees from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages under a broad-reaching English-only policy. DRMC singled out only Filipino American employees in enforcing the policy.

Among all their employees, defendants required only Filipino American employees to attend mandatory meetings with management. During these meetings, DRMC management told the Filipino American employees that they were prohibited from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages at the workplace. DRMC reprimanded them, threatened to monitor them with audio surveillance and threatened to discipline and suspend employees that were caught speaking Tagalog. Defendants also encouraged other employees to report Filipino American employees to supervisors, which created tension and hostility among employees. Filipino American employees were monitored, chastised and threatened by supervisors and other co-workers who constantly told them to speak English.
Basically, the hospital singled out and harassed Filipino employees, using this intolerant (and idiotic) English-only policy as an excuse for blatant discrimination. I mean, seriously -- audio surveillance? Encouraging employees to report on each other? It's ridiculous.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first we've heard of such policies -- harassment and discrimination against Filipino American employees seems to be happening at hospitals around the country. I don't think it's a coincidence that it all seems to be happening amidst a strong rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

Props to APALC, for helping this group of immigrant wokers to stand up publicly and fight for their rights. I hope it encourages others to do the same. For more information on the lawsuit, visit APALC's Facebook page here.

UPDATE: The Associated Press has picked up the story, and it has received some solid attention on the Yahoo! hompeage: Filipinos sue CA hospital over English-only rule.

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