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PRESS RELEASE
9-30-10

EEOC Sues Antelope Valley Hospital For Harassment Of Hispanic Staff

Latino Housekeeping Employees Were Ridiculed in a Hostile Work Environment.
Federal Agency Charges

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced it has filed a national origin harassment lawsuit against Antelope Valley Hospital, an acute care hospital in Lancaster, Calif., on behalf of a class of at least 12 Hispanic housekeeping employees.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC contends that there was tension between Hispanic and African-American employees in the Environmental Services Housekeeping (EVS) section of the hospital. Hispanic employees were constantly ridiculed and harassed by supervisors and co-workers. When one of the employees complained to the human resources department, her complaint was not appropriately addressed, according to the EEOC. The EEOC further asserts that while other management officials were aware of the harassment, Antelope Valley Hospital failed to take immediate, corrective action to put a halt to the hostile work environment.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Antelope Valley Hospital, Case No. CV 10-7279-JC ) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the class, along with injunctive relief to prevent future national origin harassment.

“The EEOC is committed to stamping out this sort of deliberate abuse of an ethnic group,” Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, said.

Olophius Perry, district director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, added, “Employers must keep a finger on the pulse of potential discrimination issues, and directly address workplace tensions which can quickly escalate into full-scale harassment. It is also the employer’s duty to immediately address and correct complaints of discrimination or face EEOC enforcement actions in court.”

According to its website, Antelope Valley Hospital is a 420-bed acute care hospital and the only full-service hospital in the Antelope Valley area of California. The hospital employs over 2,000 employees.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov .