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Home Columns San Diego Happenings Navy Dismisses Discrimination Complaints Filed by 13 Filipinos
Navy Dismisses Discrimination Complaints Filed by 13 Filipinos PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Thursday, 09 August 2007 07:24

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Thursday, 9 August 2007

~ More than a year after they had been unceremoniously dismissed by the US Navy from their jobs as housekeepers, re-taken, slapped a fine and re-assigned, the remaining 13 out of 23 Filipino workers are still fighting for justice and fairness.

FILIPINO HOUSEKEEPERS

Navy Dismisses Discrimination Complaints

By ROMEO P. MARQUEZ

SAN DIEGO - The US Navy has dismissed the discrimination complaints filed by 13 Filipino workers against officials who had unceremoniously kicked them out of their jobs, rehired, slapped a fine and then re-assigned elsewhere.

The number of protesting Navy employees who work as housekeepers in Navy-owned hotels and lodging inns in San Diego County had gone down from the original 23 to 13, mainly because the others have found new high-paying jobs.

"The Navy's internal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) offices rejected our discrimination complaint, arguing that it is very 'untimely'," said Peter Zschiesche, director of the Employment Rights Center, the group that volunteered to help the workers.

ERC is appealing the decision to the Federal EEOC, which is completely outside the Navy, Zschiesche told the Philippine Village Voice on Tuesday (Aug. 7).

The original 23 workers had been fired by the Navy after clocking out of their jobs on orders of their supervisors and managers owing to their repeated complains about lack of basic personnel facilities like toilets and breakrooms, excessive work hours and verbal abuse.

In June last year, the workers were forced to surrender their identification cards, then practically detained in their cars while parked inside the anti-submarine base, and guarded by military police with police dogs.

The workers' attempt to seek immediate redress of their complaints by walking to the residence of the base commander inside the high-security camp had been misinterpreted as a strike. This misunderstanding is one the contentious issues in their complaint.

Zschiesche said the Navy's position has been that the workers' complaint should have been filed within the first 45 days after the June 20, 2006 incident.

"Our argument is that they should apply the legal concept of 'equitable tolling' and allow these complaints because the Filipino workers were never notified of those restrictions at work or in their letters from the Navy," Zschiesche explained.

The workers and their supporters, including Congressman Bob Filner, staged a picket in front of the Navy's anti-submarine warfare base in Point Loma in April to call attention to their plight.

Except for the One Vision One Voice, a Filipino American Movement, which committed to help and support the workers, response from community organizations has been generally lukewarm.

BREAKING NEWS - A PhilVoiceNews EXCLUSIVE
Issue No. 54 NEWS WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR
A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.
A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.



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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2007 07:47
 

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