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Judge backs Pinoy nurse fired for speaking in Tagalog

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The Maryland Department of Labor ordered a reverse that withheld unemployment benefits from one of three Filipina nurses who were fired from a Baltimore hospital for speaking Tagalog.

Administrative judge Stuart Breslow supported the nurses when he said in his verdict that no patient was ever put in danger when they spoke Tagalog during their break.

Breslow said Filipina nurse Corina Yap should be entitled to receive jobless benefits. Earlier, the Labor Department said Yap could not collect any unemployment benefits because she was fired for grave misconduct.

In April, four Filipino employees of the Bon Secours Hospital were fired, for allegedly disobeying the hospital’s English-only policy while on duty at the emergency room.

Nurses Anna Rosales, Hachelle Natano,Yap and employee Jazziel Granada insisted they spoke Tagalog only during breaks. Breslow also added that  any slips on the part of the nurses were accidental.

According to Arnedo Valero, the nurses’ legal counsel from the nonprofit Migrant Heritage Commission, that the administrative court’s verdict can boost the nurses’ discrimination complaint filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Valero said the nurses are thinking of suing Bon Secours for damages