A lawsuit filed by a former lab assistant against Quest Diagnostics for not allowing him to speak Vietnamese – even on his own time – apparently settled last week.
OC Weekly reports the racially charged discrimination case, filed in April by Lake Elsinore resident Hung Trinh, settled quietly Friday. Lawyers for Trinh and Quest, which is based east of San Juan Capistrano, could not be reached for comment.
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, the company denied the claim 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, Trinh’s lawsuit also alleges the company failed to accommodate his injuries and wrongfully terminated him.
He did not ask for a specific amount of damages, although he was seeking money to compensate his actual losses and additional money to punish the company for its failings, according to the lawsuit.