In Baltimore, Maryland, four Filipina ex-staffers of Bon Secours Hospital say they were fired from their jobs in April, allegedly because they spoke in Tagalog during their lunch break. According to the ABS-CBN North America News Bureau, Corina Capunitan-Yap, Anna Rowena Rosales, Jazziel Granada and Hachelle Natano were fired from their jobs at the Bon Secours Hospital last April 16. “They claimed they heard us speaking in Filipino and that is the only basis of the termination,” Natano explained. “It wasn’t because of my functions as a nurse. There were no negative write-ups, no warning before the termination.” Last November, Bon Secours imposed for the first time an English-only language policy in the Emergency Room, the nurses said. Many hospitals, especially those with foreign medical staff, implement the rule in trauma facilities because it’s critical everyone understand each other as they respond to life-and-death situations. They were asked to sign the hospital’s “Emergency Department Expectations” that set the length of their lunch and snack breaks; lays down when they can take a rest; and directs that English should be the only language spoken while the nurses are on ER duty. Critics say the Bon Secours policy sounds too broad, without clear guidelines to be fairly implemented or followed without incident. The Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission has filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the fired nurses.

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