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Man Says He Was Harassed For Speaking Vietnamese At Work

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A lab assistant fired from his job settled a lawsuit in which he claimed that his boss wouldn't let him speak Vietnamese at work—even during breaks.

The lawsuit filed against Quest Diagnostics Inc. of San Juan Capistrano in April was settled for an undisclosed sum today, according to the OC Weekly.

Hung Trinh of Lake Elsinore claimed in the suit that he faced "constant harassment" by supervisor Estela Comba because he was Asian. It seemed to worsen after Trinh complained that he injured his back on the job.

The suit said: "Ms. Comba would prohibit him and the other six Vietnamese employees to speak Vietnamese even when they were not on company time. Ms. Comba even prohibited the seven Vietnamese employees from speaking their language at potluck parties."

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Trinh claims in the lawsuit that when he complained about harassment to the company's Human Resources department, the hostility against him only worsened. Trinh was fired in November 2011 for missing work, although Trinh claims in the lawsuit that he did work a shift that day.

Quest Diagnostics officials denied any wrongdoing through court documents, though the case was settled out of court this week before the case was scheduled to go to trial.

This September Filipino nurses won a record $975,000 settlement in a suit against a medical center in the Central Valley. The claims were similar: the nurses in the suit said they were mocked for their accents and ordered to speak in English—even during lunch and on their breaks.