Fil-Am nurses fired for speaking Filipino at Baltimore hospital win racial discrimination suit

( After being fired for speaking Filipino in their workplace, four Filipino-American health workers won the year-old discrimination lawsuit they filed against Bon Secours Health System hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Jazziel Granada, Corina Yap, Ana Rosales, and Hachelle Natano were dismissed for allegedly violating the hospital’s English-only rule. They filed the racial suit in June 2010.

"The English-only rule in workplaces has nothing to do with one's performance of duties and is discriminatory," said the four’s lawyer Arnedo Valera in ABS-CBN News, adding that his clients never compromised the conditions of their patients when they spoke Filipino. Valera told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the ruling was "a big win for diversity and an important victory for Filipinos in America."

According to Valera, it was the first time the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an independent agency that develops laws against workplace discrimination, came up with a ruling specific to the Filipino language. Its director, Gerald Kiel, said that the health workers were subjected to "unequal terms and conditions of employment, a hostile work environment, disciplinary action and discharge because of their national origin in violation of Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act of 1964)."

For more on this story, log on to the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN News.

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