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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Worker Claims Hispanic Employees Targeted For Hostile Work Environment Harassment

Three women of different nationalities stand together

Having dedicated their practice to fighting for the rights of employment discrimination victims, our Citrus County, Florida employment attorneys know that Hispanic employees are often targeted for discriminatory harassment. In far too many cases, our Inverness, Florida employment lawyers have learned, supervisors and managers, act as if they believe employment discrimination laws do not apply to Hispanic employees and single out Hispanic employees for abusive treatment. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida employment attorneys explain how the alleged facts in Heredia-Caines v. Lehigh Valley Hospital, Inc.,  Case No. 5:19-05815 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2022) demonstrate that Hispanic employees who are targeted for abusive behavior based on anti-Hispanic prejudice can establish that they were required to work in a hostile environment in violation of federal employment discrimination law.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

In that case, a woman named Heredia-Caines, who is from Puerto Rico and Hispanic, brought an employment discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Inc. (LVH), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race and national origin, including subjecting employees to discriminatory harassment based on race or national origin. To violate Title VII, discriminatory harassment on the basis of race or national origin must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile working environment. Heredia-Caines claims that LVH discriminated against her in violation of Title VII by subjecting her to a hostile work environment on the basis of her race and national origin.

In 2013, Heredia-Caines began her employment with LVH as a scheduling coordinator. In 2015, she was transferred to the Patient Financial Services Department to become a customer service agent. In this position, Heredia-Caines reported directly to a supervisor named Roth. Heredia-Caines alleges that Roth subjected her to discriminatory harassment over the course of 2016 and 2017 by singling out her and other Hispanic employees for abusive treatment.

Alleged Anti-Hispanic Prejudice

Heredia-Caines alleges that Roth regularly made offensive comments about Hispanic individuals. For example, when Heredia-Caines would voice her opinion that the Patient Financial Services Department should create a phone line for Spanish speaking patients, Roth would allegedly respond that non-Hispanic patient did not want to “hear that there is a Spanish line” and that Hispanic individuals need to “learn English” or find “someone who can speak the language. Heredia-Caines further alleges that she once heard Roth tell two of her Hispanic co-workers from Puerto Rico that Puerto Ricans used to have “to apply for papers to come to this country.” In total, Roth allegedly made comments like these on about five occasions.
Heredia-Caines also claims that Roth was physically aggressive towards her and other Hispanic employees. Heredia-Caines maintains that Roth yelled at her a couple of times and that Roth once raised his voice at her when she asked for help with a difficult call. Heredia-Caines also allegedly witnessed Roth pound his fists on her Hispanic co-workers’ desks on at least four occasions and witnessed Roth yell at her Hispanic co-workers on at least five occasions.

Employee Denied Promotion

Heredia-Caines further claims that Roth was involved in the decision to deny her promotion to a supervisory position. The other candidates for the position were all white. Although another management employee conducted the interviews of the candidates, Roth sat in on these interviews to take notes and to give his opinion on each candidate. Heredia-Caines did not get the job. Instead of promoting Heredia-Caines, LVH promoted one of Heredia-Caines’ white co-workers. Heredia-Caines contends that she was denied promotion on the basis of her race and national origin because Roth, a manager who allegedly regularly expressed anti-Hispanic prejudice, was involved in her interview and in the decision-making process for the supervisor position.

Evidence Of Hostile Working Environment

LVH filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Heredia-Caines’ hostile work environment harassment claim. In doing so, LVH argued that the alleged discrimination in Heredia-Caines’ work environment was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The trial court denied LVH’s motion for dismissal and ruled that a reasonable jury could find that Heredia-Caines “experienced severe or pervasive discrimination in her work environment.”

In support of its conclusion, the trial court explained that Heredia-Caines “has produced evidence suggesting that she worked under a supervisor who regularly singled out Hispanic employees for verbal abuse and physically aggressive displays of authority.” Moreover, the trial court observed, Heredia-Caines has produced evidence that Roth “was involved” in the decision to deny her promotion and the decision to deny her promotion was motivated by Roth’s discriminatory intent.

Employment Lawyers In Citrus County, FL

Based in Ocala, Florida, and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment attorneys in Citrus County, Florida have litigated employment discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years. If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination or have questions about your employee rights under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment lawyers in Citrus County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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