Filipino Employees Sue Medical Center Over English Language Rule

On Tuesday, a group of 52 hospital workers sued Delano Regional Medical Center over allegations that Filipinos were unfairly targeted by the hospital's enforcement of a rule requiring them to speak only English, the AP/Ventura County Star reports.

The hospital did not respond to a request for comment, according to the AP/ Star.

Plaintiffs' Allegations

The plaintiffs claim that Delano Regional allowed other employees to speak Hindi and Spanish while it prohibited Filipinos from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages.

Filipino workers said that in August 2006, hospital officials warned them not to speak Tagalog and told them that surveillance cameras would be installed for monitoring purposes, if necessary.

The plaintiffs seek to force the hospital to change its English-only policy and train hospital staff on a new rule.

EEOC Lawsuit

In addition to the new lawsuit, the Filipino workers are seeking to join an August complaint that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed in Kern County federal court over the medical center's enforcement of the English-only rule.

EEOC is seeking an injunction to protect employees against possible future discrimination.

Julie Su -- litigation director for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, which represents the plaintiffs -- said the Filipino workers filed their separate lawsuit in addition to joining the EEOC case in part because monetary damages are capped under federal law (Taxin, AP/Ventura County Star, 12/7).

Francis Orejudos
Honestly, I do not understand all of the comments talking about the hospital enforcing its workers to speak English only. To me, this is not about whether immigrant workers should be required to learn/speak English. This is about the hospital discriminating against Filipinos speaking Tagalog, plain and simply. If English is the only language that should be spoken, they should have forbidden Spanish and Hindi, too.
Since they allow Hindi and Spanish, the hospital has little grounds to stand on. Of course, the voters and state of California set them up by being so "tolerant" of immigrants considering English a second language, rather that a primary language. Anyone planning on living/working in India or Mexico for extended periods should be mandated to, and often have to, learn their language...Same for those immigrating here.
Dana Driscoll
I agree with the above posts. I used to work for a So Cal hospital where the majority of nurses were Filipino. They spoke tagalog on the med/surg floor frequently. It was not unusual to hear one of my patient's say to me: "Oh thank God,I have an english speaking nurse!" Something is wrong with this picture.
Nancy Lopez
When did the primary language in American change to other languages from other countries. This is why the immigrants never learn to speak English. They don't have to. But when those speaking English will be forbidden to speak English as others can not speak the language?
Hector De La Rosa
English is the primary language in this country and it should be respected. We should respect those around us that are english speaking only.

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