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Rochester, New York - May-09-06 - The Honorable Charles J. Siragusa entered a consent decree today ending all policies at Highland Hospital that had been used to prevent Hispanic housekeeping employees from speaking Spanish to their colleagues. As part of the settlement, the hospital also agreed to remove the disciplinary records from the employee's personnel files, to institute diversity training at the hospital and to pay $200,000 to resolve the lawsuit.
Highland Hospital Settles "No Spanish" case United States District Court enters Consent Decree Today
The employees were represented by the Rochester law firm of Dolin, Thomas & Solomon LLP, which concentrates its practice in employment litigation. (Background on Firm attached). The firm initiated the claim at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Janette Nufiez and several other clients who hail from Cuba and Puerto Rico and all speak Spanish as their native language. The EEOC's regional office in Buffalo, headed by Elizabeth Cadle, investigated the claim. After completing the investigation, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in Rochester challenging Highland's policy,
"We are pleased we were able to have this matter resolved favorably, not only for our clients, but also for the message that it sends to employees everywhere." said Nelson Thomas of Dolin, Thomas & Solomon LLP. (Biography attached). "When an employer uses language as a tool to discriminate without any business reason, that's illegal."
Thomas emphasized the key role of the EEOC. "We are particularly grateful for the EEOC's involvement. If it was not for the EEOC, and particularly for their top-notch legal staff, it would have been much harder to have this case resolved. My clients and I thank them for their hard work on this case."
Janette Nuflez, who initiated the claim on behalf of herself and her fellow employees, welcomed the settlement. "It has not been an easy road. However, this is a wonderful outcome at last. I am glad the hospital is going to do the right thing. This lawsuit has never been about the money, but about treating all employees fairly. I am glad Highland is committed to doing the right thing." Nunez remains an employee at Highland, as do a number of the other employees.
Nelson Thomas and Janette Nunez will be available for individual interviews on May 9, 2006 from 3:30 until 5:30. If you are interested in speaking with either of them, please contact Stacey Todd at the number below to arrange an interview time.
FOR FURTHER INQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT:
NELSON THOMAS: (585) 272-0540 or nthomas@.theemploymentattorneys.com
CRISTINA BAHR: (585) 272-0540 firstname.lastname@example.org