Polk County Clinic Workers Say they Have Been Forbidden to Speak Spanish at Work

Seven employees at the Florida Department of Health clinic in Haines City have spoken out publicly regarding being harassed by management for speaking Spanish at work.

They say they have been made to feel like criminals for simply speaking Spanish. 

The seven nurses and clerks at the Florida Department of Health clinic in Haines City are outraged over their workplace’s attitude towards them speaking their native language to each other.

The women are all Puerto Rican and say they were hired because they are bilingual. Haines City does have a high Hispanic population. 

Despite this, they say management has forbidden them to speak Spanish to each other.

They claim the harassment intensified in the last year, but has gone on much longer.

The women filed a complaint with the Polk County Health Department and have also reached out to the Tallahassee office. However, they say no action has been taken.

Activist groups like Alianza for Progress have taken notice and are stepping in to support the women.

The Florida Department of Health has yet to make an official statement regarding these complaints. 

Being verbally abused, intimidated, and/or harassed at work can be incredibly stressful and traumatic. This creates what is better known as a hostile work environment, and many employees who experience this kind of abuse from their employer or a coworker often feel like they have no options to end their suffering. That is simply not the case, and our Florida Discrimination Attornyes at Whittel & Melton can help you understand how to resolve these issues. We see too many victims of hostile work environments feel pressured to either quit their job or suffer through continued harassment and intimidation, but we can help to find you other options. 

Discrimination is defined by Florida state and federal law as the unfair and often hostile treatment of another individual based on their race, color, sexual orientation, or personal characteristics. In regards to Spanish speakers, they are often discriminated against because of their ethnicity and their cultural background. In the state of Florida and throughout the United States, discrimination in the workplace is against the law. When off-color comments or harassment about race happen in the workplace, this creates a hostile work environment. 

A lawsuit can be filed against your employer if they are allowing discrimination and harassment in the workplace to happen and fail to do anything about putting a stop to it. Discrimination and harassment in the workplace can take on various forms, so it is imperative to find an attorney in Florida who understands the rights of employees to review your case. 

There are several elements that must be present when it comes to hostile work environments based on discrimination lawsuits against your employer, inculding:

  • It must be shown that your employer is discriminating against you based on your religion, disability, race, color, or age in some way.
  • It must be shown that your employer’s behavior and actions have lasted for an extended period of time. With that said, you cannot sue your employer for one off-handed comment. Any and all incidents where your employer created a hostile work environment should be documented, recorded and filed with your company’s HR department.
  • Your employer’s actions must be consistent and severe enough to affect your ability to perform your everyday work duties. 
  • If your company has done nothing to eradicate issues of abuse or harassment, then you can move forward with legal action against your employer.

If you, your co-workers, or anyone else you kow has been the victim of a hostile work environment based on discrimination, it is in your best interest that you seek legal guidance from our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Meton who can guide you on filing a lawsuit against your employer for creating and facilitating a hostile work environment. We are Spanish-speaking Florida lawyers who can fight aggressively on your behalf to achieve a successful outcome for your case.  

We can walk you through the step-by-step process of filing your claim completely free of charge. We offer to take these cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will never pay for our services until your case is won. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have and guide you through the process of receiving fair compensation for your damages. With our Spanish speaking attorneys by your side, we can mount a strong case on your behalf, file a claim, and strive to reach a fair outcome to your claims.

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