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8986: Score one for Haitian Creole! (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

To my friends... I am back.  To others, don't obsess!  Now, I would
like to ask a few things about a recent legal case: 

Questions about the following article:
1) Is this a first of this kind, as far as Haitian Creole is concerned?
2) How widespread is this sort of discrimination in the U.S., Canada, 
and other countries?  Would it be specifically anti-Haitian (at this time)?
3) Does this action from the EEOC have potential benefits for the
Haitian community, apart from its original and immediate scope?

Pru settles bias suit brought by Haitians
Associated Press

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced 
(on August 24) that it had settled a national-origin discrimination lawsuit 
filed on behalf of four Haitian employees of Prudential Insurance Co.

As part of a consent decree, the four employees in Prudential's 
Brooklyn/Queens office will share a $300,000 settlement, the EEOC said.

According to the lawsuit, the Haitian workers were not allowed to speak 
Creole, their native language, even though co-workers were permitted to 
speak Spanish, French, Russian and other languages.  The suit also 
charged that Prudential failed to take remedial action after employees 
complained about the discriminatory practices.

"It defies the purpose of the Civil Rights Act, along with common sense, 
to employ people for their language abilities while simultaneously banning 
them from speaking their native language," said Katherine Bissell, regional 
attorney for the commission's New York office. "An employer's taking 
adverse action against individuals because of their manner of speaking, 
language or accent amounts to national-origin discrimination."

Prudential spokesman said the settlement was not an admission of guilt.
(snip) The EEOC said it will monitor compliance with the consent decree, 
filed in federal court in Brooklyn, for two years.

Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti