Filipino Nurses, Staff Say English-Only Rule Targets Them

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dozens of hospital workers in California have sued their employer alleging they were the sole ethnic group targeted by an English-only rule.

Fifty-two nurses and medical staff filed the complaint Tuesday in federal court in Kern County. They accuse Delano Regional Medical Center of discriminating against Filipino workers for speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages while letting other staffers speak Spanish and Hindi.

The plaintiffs are seeking to joint an August complaint filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the hospital’s enforcement of a rule requiring workers to speak English.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • MMcK

    This is America, not the Philipines speak english.

    • Jolene O

      This is America, stop being ignorant and foolish. Speak some sense.

  • Speak English Please

    it is very ignorant and unprofessional for any race to be speaking any language other than English while working. The filipino employees at the hospital I work it do it often and it is very annoying.

  • swhit

    Start making the store owners use English signage only too! We are not in Mexico, Korea or anywhere else but the US.

    • Jolene

      No English signage for you at any airports or other venues in other countries. The US was founded by immigrants with many languages. Please educate yourself.

  • Dawn d

    It is not targeting only Filipino nurses. I am a nurse a major hospital. there are some days I work that I do not hear a single word of English spoken all day.
    Filipino nurses are not being targeted . It applys to all people. no matter what language they speak.Try being on the other side of it. Pt info is being exchanged and it is in a language other than English. If people chose to come here and work here they should respect the language of the land which is English. If not they should go back to their home country to live and practice.
    I am the child of immigrants. My parents were told to learn and speak English at work and they did so. If Filipino nurses feel the need to speak their native language they are free to do so outside the hospital and on their breaks. If not their are plenty of American nursing grads who would gladly take their spot.

    • Thevoiceofreason

      I couldn’t agree more!!!


    Every English only person you work with in any business hates that people won’t speak English at least at work. When they speak a native language exclusivly ouside of work they never get rid of the accent that makes them nearly impossible to understand anyways.
    speak English or leave.

  • John Q

    I am sick and tired of all these Philipino nurses everywhere. It doesnt matter where you go they are there speaking Tagalog . You cant escape them..
    Its frustrating to see them here. They study in the Philipimes and then come to the US and we make it easy for them to transfer their credits over to become nurses here.

    We have a hard time finiding nurses here because the waiting for a space in the nurses program is so limited and hard to get into. But hey if you are a fresh Philipino with your degree from the Philipines its no problem because of the shortage of nurses. What is that?? I say open up more nursing programs cut the waiting time from a year or two to a semester or so and we will be fine.
    Then we dont have to suffer hearing all this Tagalog in all the freaking hospitals!!

  • Gwen

    I think they mean that you can’t just speak taglog no? You must speak english well. I find some nurses don’t speak any english and it’s hard for patients to communicate. I think it should go across the board to all languages. Nothing wrong with speaking your native language but you must speak english!

  • dion

    Its getting to the point where the workplace is so full of these “rights” of people who speak non-english that its getting to affect the work environment for those who only speak english or who may speak more than one language only use english in their workplace. I worked for a company
    which had an interesting SAFETY policy which stated that if and when an emergency took place
    it is quite normal to use your natural or first language as a reaction. Example would a fire or saying help. If there was a fire and you said it in non-english you would rob other coworkers of the
    the announcement because they would not know what you said. That could mean the difference if you did not get out the exit door in time because of the confusion. You know our English language is what binds us together no matter what race or culture you are. As a after thought the same situation can be used when firefighters are called and the caller cannot tell what kind of store is on fire as the caller cannot read the language signage in front of the building that is burning. Maybe its a GUN store or a market… Doesn’t matter to me,,,I’m moving to a state which does NOT have these issues. BYE CA!!!

  • 2958

    Wake up people, we minorities are taking over……wooo hooo…….

  • socal

    How will all “minorities” communirate? Draw pictures? Everyone needs to be on the same playing field, for everyone’s sake. Knowing other languages should be a bonus, but one common language is a must.

  • 123

    they are suing cause they are being discriminated.

    “Dozens of hospital workers in California have sued their employer . . . sole ethnic group targeted by an English-only rule.”

    if the rules is to be placed, it should apply to every race in the hospital.

  • rb

    Please read the article carefully. The Filipino nurses are complaining because they are being singled-out for the English-only rule. If such rule should be enforced, it should be applied to all (Hispanics, Indians, etc.).

  • CC

    Although English is the primary language here in America, we shouldn’t forget that Americans come in all shapes and sizes, whether white, black, yellow, brown, or any other shade. A citizen that only knows English isn’t any more American than a citizen that knows several languages. I do agree that it’s key for professionalism to take place in the work area, whether that means speaking English only. However, if a rule is desired to be enforced, then this rule should be done for everyone, not just Filipinos. It’s about “equality”, right? For any job, including nursing, it’s about being qualified and doing the job right rather than not. I would much rather have a nurse take care of me that speaks another language occasionally during his/her break rather than a lazy nurse that doesn’t know how to do his/her job.

    This is America people. Embrace other cultures, not just your own.

    • Bambi

      You are obviously NOT an American nurse!

      • CC

        Hmmm.. you’re only 50% right. Yeah, I’m not a nurse, but I sure am American… all 100%.Obviously you should get your facts straight before you post something.

  • MR V.

    My first language is Spanish and I only speak Spanish when it is need it for the benefit of my patients only. this doesn’t mean that I am not proud of my heritage, it is about being professional at work. The Filipinos that I work with speaks most of the time Tagalog even when we are doing a code blue on a patient. They are putting the patients at risk because we do not know what it is happening. A high percentage of Filipinos that I work with refuse to help any other race when help is needed. also they refused to receive help from any other race. Nursing is about TEAM WORK!!!!! IT IS NOT ABOUT FILIPINOS AGAINST SOCIETY!!!!

  • James Em. Denton

    I am so outraged by the comments above. Fire the MEXICANS FIRST. Not ONLY do they speak SPANISH but they are also ILLEGALs. Please, these Philipinos only speak Tagalog amongst EACH OTHER, NOT TO PATIENTS. Go educate yourselves, White people, and you have bigger fish to fry than these hardworking Philipinos, i.e., Spanish speaking nurses. PLEASE. OBVIOUS SINGLED OUT.

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