According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC"), a Central Valley hospital will pay $975,000 to settle claims that it discriminated against and harassed Filipino-American employees through selective enforcement of an English-only language policy. The hospital denies any wrongdoing, citing patients' rights laws and the goal of ensuring quality patient care as the sources for its policy requiring staff to use English or the patient's preferred language. However, the 69 plaintiff-employees alleged the hospital went further by singling out staff speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages, forbidding use of such languages at any time, encouraging volunteers and colleagues to monitor compliance, and ridiculing their accents when speaking English. They further alleged that the hospital failed to investigate or remedy the situation even after over 100 employees complained about the treatment. The $975K settlement represents the largest settlement ever for a workplace language discrimination case on the West Coast, according to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. The hospital also reportedly agreed to injunctive relief requiring a new language policy that permits use of an employee's chosen language in appropriate circumstances, hiring an external equal employment opportunity monitor, and staff training on equal employment law and the new policy.
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CA hospital to pay $975,000, allegedly biased enforcement of English-only policy
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