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Filipino employees earn large settlement in discrimination case

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is an incredibly important piece of U.S. legislation that gives certain protections and abilities to employees involved in discrimination cases. One of the rights granted by this statute is that the party that was discriminated against is eligible for financial compensation should they prove that the discrimination they experienced was deliberate on the part of the defendant.

In some cases, though rare, the burden of proof for this "deliberate" discrimination can be tough to achieve, or even explain. But in many more cases, the offending organization's discriminatory behavior is abhorrent and plain to see.

Take the case of a hospital in California, for example. The hospital's Filipino-American employees were targeted by the hospital and its staff: they were told they could only speak English (even on their lunch breaks) and they were constantly mocked and singled out for their accents or use of Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.

The Filipino employees were even threatened with audio monitoring devices and called into mandatory meetings where they were told Tagalog was prohibited. Other employees capable of speaking multiple languages were not subjected to this terrible treatment.

Such blatant disregard for their employees civil rights landed the hospital in legal hot water, as they settled out-of-court for nearly $1 million after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center sued them on behalf of the Filipino employees. The hospital will also need to have an EEOC representative on site to ensure the practice is compliant with EEOC guidelines and any other provisions set forth by the settlement.

It doesn't matter if you are a janitor or a CEO -- acts and policies that discriminate against any employee are illegal. Treating someone differently or derisively simply based on their national origin absolutely qualifies as discriminatory; and if you are subjected to such abuse, you should consider a civil lawsuit to fairly compensate you for the embarrassment, pain and suffering that is almost always felt by the victim.

Source: Hispanic Business, "Filipino-Americans Win Discrimination Case in California," Sept. 18, 2012

  • An employee's civil rights should never be infringed upon; but if they are, the employee should consult a legal representative. To learn more about what can be done if you are subjected to discrimination in the workplace, please visit our Houston employment law page.

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