Nursing Home Company Reaches Deal To Settle Discrimination Charges by Spanish-Speaking Employees
The Orange County, Calif.-based Skilled Healthcare and affiliated firms agreed to pay up to $450,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Los Angeles that alleges employees of the firms' nursing homes were directed not to speak Spanish in the workplace, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The lawsuit contended that the firms imposed an English-only rule on Hispanic workers but not workers who spoke other languages, such as Tagalog. Skilled Healthcare's attorney dismissed the allegations, saying that managers always encouraged employees to speak in languages most comfortable for the residents. He added that Skilled Healthcare is pursuing the settlement to avoid a costly and time-consuming lawsuit.
Under the settlement, Skilled Healthcare will pay $180,000 to 53 plaintiffs in the suit and offer English classes to them. If they complete the classes, they will be eligible to receive an additional $2,500 each.
In addition, the firm said it would provide anti-discrimination training at its facilities and hire someone to monitor its compliance with the federal antidiscrimination law (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 4/16).