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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Anti-Filipino Language Suit Heard January 18th
Anti-Filipino Language Suit Heard January 18th PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 10 December 2010 12:06

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

 

C HICAGO (jGLi) -- The hearing of the civil-rights suit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before the Eastern District Court of California in Bakersfield, California, on behalf of 34 Filipino Americans who were prevented from speaking Tagalog or other Filipino languages in the workplace is set for hearing on Jan. 18 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Jennifer L. Thurston.

 

Court records obtained by this reporter showed that the Filipino Americans, represented by lawyers from the Los Angeles, California-based EEOC led by regional Attorney Anna Y. Park and Attoneys Michael J. Farrell and Amrita Mallik, showed that the Filipino-American complainants are demanding a jury trial against Central California Foundation for Health on behalf of the Delano Regional Medical Center and the Delano Health Associates, which are represented by lawyers Robert D. Harding and John R. Szewczyk of the Clifford & Brown law office in Bakersfield.

 

The complainants filed the lawsuit based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for discriminating against them from speaking Tagalog or Filipino languages while allowing other ethnic groups to speak Spanish or Hindi.

 

The Delano Regional Medical Center is being asked to "correct unlawful employment practices on the basis of national origin (Filipino) and to provide appropriate relief" for the complainants.

 

The complainants or "charging parties" were identified in the seven-page complaint as Rebecca Aguinaldo, Pacita Agustin, Maria Busto, Herminia Carino, Nora Casimiro, Hilda Ducusin, Consolacion Galafate, Luz Gallegos, Wilma Lamug, Vemlis Pagsuberon, Priscilla Penalosa, Federico Quiniones, Sixto Ramos, Vilma Tutop, Romeo Villamor, Ferdinand Baraceros, Ednalyn Arciaga, Sol Manaois, Maribelle Manankil, Evangeline Picato, Arsenia Ringor, Michelle Cabbab, Angelita Baligad, Patricia Serafica, Erlinda Camtuya, Tomasa Gumallaoi, Manuela Aninion, Anafe Escorpiso, Elnora Cayme, Charito Bilog, Elizabeth Batchar, Joselito Munoz, Belen Cabbab, and Calixto Lamugand.

 

The US EEOC charged the defendants with unlawfully discriminating against the "charging parties and a class of similarly situated individuals when Defendants subjected them to disparate treatment with respect to the terms, conditions, and privileges of their employment because of their Filipino national origin."

 

The independent federal law-enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination also charges the defendants with subjecting "charging parties and a class of similarly situated individuals to unlawful harassment based on their Filipino national origin, which was sufficiently severe and pervasive to adversely affect the terms and conditions of their employment."

 

The complaint alleged, "since at least August, 2006," the defendants "subjected their Filipino employees to a humiliating meeting wherein they were berated, intimidated and threatened."

 

The defendants also "heightened scrutiny, threats of surveillance equipment in the workplace, warnings of severe disciplinary actions and, in some cases, actual disciplinary measures."

 

The defendants "did not target the non-Filipino employees for such strict enforcement of its language policy" nor "heightened scrutiny, threats, warnings and disciplinary actions" during the same meeting.

 

The charging parties were "subjected to unwelcome taunting, hostile remarks, humiliating comments, warnings and chastising by co-workers and supervisors because of their national origin."

 

The harassment was "sufficiently frequent and severe to adversely affect the terms and conditions of their employment and to create an atmosphere of inferiority, isolation and intimidation based on national origin."

 

The unlawful practices were "intentional, done with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the charging parties and a class of similarly situated individuals."

 

The complaint sought a grant of permanent injunction enjoining defendant employers from engaging in "disparate treatment of Filipino individuals and any other employment practice, which discriminates on the basis of national origin."

 

It sought "compensation for past and future pecuniary losses" and for other "non-pecuniary losses," including "emotional pain, frustration, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and humiliation, in amounts to be determined at trial."

 

It also sought relief deemed "necessary and proper," costs of action, and "individual punitive damages for their malicious and reckless conduct."

 

The 8-Page Answer of the Defendants

 

In an eight-page answer, the lawyers for the defendants denied the charges, including failure "to state facts which an award of punitive damage may be made," that charges "were directly caused, concurred in or contributed to by the willful misconduct of charging parties and/or other similarly situated Filipino employees, so as to bar or reduce recovery herein," plaintiff and charging parties "have delayed an unreasonable period of time in bringing this action," "non-performance of assigned job duties and responsibilities," "habitual neglect," "unclean hands," "failed to timely report any and all alleged harassment or discrimination," "never (been) subject of a proper administrative proceedings," and lack of jurisdiction by the court for "emotional distress." # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 



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Last Updated on Friday, 10 December 2010 12:09
 

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