Anh Do of the Los Angeles Times reports that on Monday, September 24, lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a $975,000 settlement had been awarded to the group of Filipino-American nurses who worked at the Delano Regional Medical Center (located near Bakersfield, California). The settlement was for a language discrimination case filed by the nurses, who claimed that "they were mocked for their Filipino accents and ordered to speak ’English only’ on hospital premises even during breaks or when they were making personal calls."
The report noted that the case, which was filed in 2010, involved 69 Filipino immigrants who had been banned from speaking Filipino, as well as other dialects from their country even when they were in break rooms, hallways, and the cafeteria. The report quoted Elnora Cayme, who worked at the hospital for more than 27 years, who revealed: "They were always telling us, ’Ssshhh. English only. English only. I felt embarrassed, ashamed. I was so angry we were being followed by housekeepers and security guards," she said. "I asked the guard why he did that and he said, ’We were told to watch you and report you.’"
The report added: "Although the hospital employed a mix of bilingual employees speaking Spanish, Hindi, Bengali and other languages, managers targeted only the Filipinos and encouraged supervisors and other staffers to ’act as vigilantes.’" In any case, the report emphasized that "the settlement the Filipino-American nurses received is, according to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, believed to be the largest language discrimination settlement in the U.S. healthcare industry."
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