Company Policy Targets Filipino Employees and Creates Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charges
FRESNO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the filing of a national origin discrimination lawsuit against the Delano Regional Medical Center, an acute care hospital in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
According to the EEOC, the hospital prohibited Filipino staff from speaking Tagalog (or other Filipino languages) while allowing non-Filipino employees to speak other languages, such as Spanish. The EEOC contends that hospital management subjected Filipino staff to a hostile working environment by singling them out for reprimands in company meetings, threatening them with audio surveillance, and encouraging other staff to report on them. The Commission alleged that the medical center’s directive created a hostile working environment with supervisors and other staff taunting and threatening the Filipino staff on a regular basis, creating tension between Filipino and non-Filipino employees. This alleged national origin discrimination and harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Central California Foundation for Health d/b/a Delano Regional Medical Center, Case No. 10-CV-01492-LJO-JLT ), after efforts to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction against future discrimination.
“Employers must ensure that company policies are applied equally,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Targeting workers of a particular national origin is not only illegal, it also erodes company morale, pitting groups against one another.”
Melissa Barrios, local director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, added, “The EEOC enforces laws that protect against harassment based on one’s country of origin. The targeting of one group in this particular case for behavior that was condoned for other groups is simply deplorable.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.