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By Anh Do, Los Angeles TimesSeptember 18, 2012A group of Filipino nurseswhoclaimed they were mocked for theiraccents and ordered to speak"English only" won a nearly $1-million settlement against a CentralCalifornia hospital where bossesand co-workers were allegedlyurgedtoeavesdropontheimmigrant workers.The$975,000settlement,announced Monday by lawyers fromthe Equal Employment OpportunityCommission, is believed to be the1
largest language discriminationsettlement in the U.S. healthcareindustry, according to the AsianPacific American Legal Center.Officials at Delano Regional MedicalCenter insisted they did nothingwrong and settled the lawsuit onlybecause it made financial sense.Under the terms of the settlement,however, the hospital must conductanti-discrimination training and hirea monitor to track workplaceconduct.The case, filed in 2010, involved 69immigrants who said they suffered"constantharassmentandhumiliation when they opened theirmouths, or talked with familymembers on the phone," said AnnaPark, a Los Angeles-based attorneyfor the commission. She said nurseswere banned from speaking Tagalogand other dialects in break rooms,hallways and the cafeteria."They were always telling us,'Ssshhh. English only. English only. Ifelt embarrassed, ashamed," saidElnora Cayme, who worked at thehospital for more than 27 years."I was so angry we were beingfollowed by housekeepers andsecurity guards," she said. "I askedthe guard why he did that and hesaid, 'We were told to watch youand report you.'"During a 2006 mandatory meetingfor Filipino staffers, nurses weretold they were forbidden from usingtheir native language at "any timein the hospital," said Wilma Lamug,a former 10-year employee.