Lake Elsinore Man's Discrimination Case Settled

Hung Trinh’s lawsuit alleged that he and others were harassed for speaking Vietnamese, even on off-duty hours, such as lunch breaks and company parties.

The lawsuit a former lab assistant brought against Quest Diagnostics for not allowing him to speak Vietnamese – even on his own time – appears to have settled last week.

OC Weekly is reporting the racially-charged discrimination case Lake Elsinore resident Hung Trinh filed in April settled quietly Friday. Lawyers for Trinh and Quest could not be reached for comment.

Quest Diagnostics, a provider of medical diagnostic testing services, is located off Ortega Highway, on the Orange County side of the state route.

Trinh’s lawsuit alleged that he and others were harassed for speaking Vietnamese, even on off-duty hours, such as lunch breaks and company parties.

In legal papers Quest filed in May in response, company officials issued a denial and offered many possible legal defenses without going into detail.

In his lawsuit, Trinh complained that one supervisor in particular, Estela Comba, “had a problem with Vietnamese employees, and specifically with him.”

Comba “would prohibit him and the other six Vietnamese employees to speak Vietnamese even when they were not on company’s time. Ms. Comba even prohibited them from speaking their language at potluck parties,” his lawsuit states.

Trinh did report the issue to the company's human resources department, but according to his lawsuit, nothing came of it – except more hostility form Comba.

After Trinh returned from a vacation in September 2011, Comba reassigned him to the first shift, even though he had a doctor’s note saying he needed to be on the second shift. Trinh had previously injured his back while on duty.

When Trinh continued to work the second shift, he was marked absent from the first shift and was fired Nov. 1, 2011 because of it, according to the lawsuit.

He had never had attendance problems since starting with Quest in 2007, according to his lawsuit.

Besides the racial component of his complaints and its resulting retaliation, Trinh’s lawsuit also alleged the company failed to accommodate his injuries and wrongfully terminated him.

He did not ask for a specific amount of damages, though he was seeking both money to compensate his actual losses and additional money to punish the company for its failings, according to the lawsuit.

WorkingMom November 27, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Crazy. I work at a hospital where the nurses rarely speak English. They are so loud. It is very bothersome. Even the patients complain. They are required to speak English in the nurses station and patient care areas but never do. Now they are suing places of employment for not being able to speak their own language at work and work related activities, and winning! A bunch of nurses just did this and won. Even my daughter comments when getting her nails done and they won't speak English. This is America people. English is the language. It is not discrimination on our part, it is courtesy and respect on yours. You are employed by an American company, speak the American language or don't work there. I am sure it was explained to you prior to taking the job, right?
The Teller of Truth November 27, 2012 at 04:42 PM
He had a doctors note saying he had to work 2nd shift? I've never heard of that? Aren't there doctors & therapists available 'after' first shift? Perhaps he didn't want to be on first because it requires him getting up early? Or he'd miss his 2nd shift friends? Back injuries are the hardest injury to prove because of all the muscles involved, but to totally blow off a shift reassignment (no matter what the reason) is grounds for being fired PERIOD! Sounds like he just wants some easy money from a law suit. You know the kind (MLB).
censored messenger November 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Filipinas form the majority of nurses here and they speak Tagalog. I would go one further, I always complain to the manager when I meet a worker who deals with the public but has a horrible foreign accent... If everybody complained like that they wouldn't allow it.
You've got to be kidding me November 27, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Wow we can see what side the patch is coming from by the way this article is written. Nice one-sided reporting there Penny. The fact that Quest "settled quitetly" doesn't mean they were guilty of any wrongdoing, it simply means they could make this go away for much less than it would actually cost to fight this bogus claim in court. Guilty until proven innocent, right?
Julian Villalobos November 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
America the beautiful! You are right , this is AMERICA. Not Mexico, not Guatamala,NOT Honduras, not China, not Puerto RICO, not India, get the picture people?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) November 27, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I don't read that this means the company is guilty. Being a corporate legal reporter for more than a decade, I suspect you're right about it being cheaper to settle. I WISH Quest would have talked to me (settlements of this type are often contingent on them being confidential). Their legal papers were very non-specific. We can only report on the documents we have and the interviews we conduct. Trinh's offered more details.
Becky Honkington November 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM
English is YOUR language. It is not the official language. It is apalling that a corporation thinks they can tell their employees what language to speak when they are not conducting company business. If it bothers you, stop trying to eavesdrop. Jeez.
Frankie November 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM
These people from other countries fight like a mofo to get into the USA and then they want us to conform to their ways, the Vietnamese have taken over huge cities in OC and they let them for the mighty dollar. I will not frequent anywhere that they do not speak english, if you don't like the laws of our country then get the hell out.
Becky Honkington November 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
The man in this article was speaking his native language ON HIS OWN TIME. There is no law in this country stating that English only can be spoken. Next?
Chris November 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Speak English or GTFO. Enough PC crap. Enough of them vrs us, speak the language of the country you call home and show some respect. If I moved to YOUR country, I would learn the native language. Duh. Moronic lawyers have ruined this once great company. What a joke.
Frankie November 28, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Aiding and abetting, can we make it any easier for people to not learn English, we have billboards in Mexican, food labels in Mexican, press one for English. WTF And if he was on his OWN TIME then maybe he should of thought about his surroundings because his employer didn't see it that way.
WorkingMom November 28, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Okay Becky Honker, maybe you missed the part where I mentioned "they are loud in the nursing station." Everyone has to hear them. They are to speak English in patient care areas, unless they are qualified to interpret (which believe it or not they cannot pass a test to speak their language properly to do interpretting). I didn't say that when they are on break, or at a party outside of work, or in the cafeteria that I care. I just find it unprofessional is all. They all take breaks and lunch at once in the break room, I stay out. I can respect that. I don't eaves drop. (So dumb, why would I if I don't understand them fool?) I feel like they take advantage of America and most will never become citizens because they don't want too.
WorkingMom November 28, 2012 at 04:36 AM
I think this is a one sided story, another "this company is racist so lets sue them, it is the American dream." Unless of course you are an American. Do you really think this is the whole story? Quest doesn't have to talk because it probably isn't worth it. Big companies would rather not have their name drug in the mud over something like this. Any company owner has the right to run their company any language they want, and they do. Been to a nail salon or a mom and pop Mexican joint? They no speak English for you. Honker have you researched the "No law" thing or "Official language" claim? Just curious because you seem pretty stuck on this No English required thing. (sorry but you hit a nerve in your response to me. you apparently can't read English or something.)
REAL Native American November 29, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Are you in ENGLAND? English for England. Your ancestors from europe didnt learn our native langauges. That being said im aware that we are in modern nation state. The United States does not have an official language this is a free country. Your free to speak what you want, and people have the right not to speak to you if they dont choose to.
REAL Native American November 29, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Hey workingmom maybe you should go to England and you can speak English all day long. I dont see you learning any Native Languages, come over to our tribal area and ill teach you a couple of words
Anthony November 29, 2012 at 07:22 AM
European's founded our country along with the native Americans and now these piece of shit foreigners, I.E. Mexicans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Armenian, what have you come here and some how rationalize that they can still live like the do in the countries of there origin and because our government is ignorant this situation will stay ignorant! These people have ruined it for the rest of us (English Speaking) "real Americans" And our Government is complicit in this. This whole thing is idiotic yet "real Americans continue to suffer. Will actions against these atrocities ever be taken!?
Joe Smith December 02, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Lol, all these piece of shit idiots have nothing better to do than whine about people not speaking English. Self-important imbeciles who think they have any value to society. Funny, society wouldn't miss any of you self-aggrandizing losers one bit.


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