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Ex-Employee Says Quest Wouldn't Let Him Speak Vietnamese

A former lab assistant sues after a supervisor allegedly barred him and others from using their native tongue, even during non-work hours.

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.

Ann Sue November 27, 2012 at 04:23 PM
If you are lucky enough to have a job, with an English speaking company, then speak English! Talk any way you want AT HOME. Don't be rude.
We are tax payers November 27, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I seen many American speak nothing but American English while working in Viet Nam and their companies paid for them to learn Vietnamese to work in Viet Nam but they still speak only English with their American friends and around where I work many Hispanic speak Spanish among their friends people they know in Spanish in front of American here but no one complaint and I see no problem either as long as people don't do it with bad intention! So why are you racist?
Ann Sue November 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Not racist, it's VERY RUDE to speak a foreign language when in mixed company. Live in the U.S.? Speak English!. Or he could return to Vietnam. Like I said, he was lucky to have a job! Stop complaining!
We are tax payers November 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM
He has the right to speak among his friends and his own time not on company time as long as he does not intentionly does it to trying to be rude. How come no one complaint about the Hispanic or other Nationalities? I had witness similar situation at our racquet club and the White American lady actually said" because this land was Spanish land that The American took over" so therefore the Hispanic can speak Spanish.. ( I do not mean to say anything or against the Hispanic here) is there something wrong with our Asian skin tone and our look here? most of the Vietnamese and the Hispanic especially around Fountain Valley are hard working people and we pay equal taxes the Asian American are play an important role in economic development in Fountain Valley/Orange County/California. Don't you think this base from personal HATE? I was working in retail before and I actually had 2 white ladies and couple other time couple male walk into the store I start politely greet them but immediately they said " we are not going to buy from you We will buy from you Asian people" they immediately proceed directly to a WHITE sale people... which is fine with me.. But don't you think people like this boss from this company and yourself are racist or HATE CRIME? God made us human suppose to come with kind heart not this!!!
We are tax payers November 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I was actually driving safely on Brookhurst near McFadden and there was 2 truck drivers actually chasing each other crash into my car ( I was pregnan 7 mos. pregnant at the time) lucky I did not got hurt badly. Those WHITE drivers instead of asking check see if I was ok they slam their feet directly to my car and scream at me " you should go back to your Country bitch for driving too slow " when the cops arrived they got into their trucks and ran... used F word call me Asian bitch. They got caught later on... So, tell me this Ann Sue " what do you call this action?" isn't it racist?
Ann Sue November 28, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I am not interested in your long winded justification for the crap you're attempting, unsuccessfully by way, to convince anyone that being expected to speak in the appropriate manner is not important or considerate. You should rather than waste time with your nonsense, work on improving YOUR English language skill. It is very poor. No reason to respond, I won't be reading further comments. Much to difficult to understand.
We are tax payers November 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Thank you Ann Sue to show the whole World how you are and how racist you are. My poor English does not make you a better person ! I hope you teach your children the correct way. Good education come from good heart & good family. May God Bless you ! I will forgive you !
Smokey Bear November 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I used to work at Quest for 10 years before they fired me when I went on Vacation in Israel with my family. My mother sent me an iteniary over the company email, & I was called into HR & Pam Baisley called me a jew & said we killed Jesus! I was then escorted out of the building. by a hired security guard! After working for 10 years & serving on every committe that raised money for every kind of charity, helped with planning events & was on the recognition committee & ran the awards program & ceremony. It hurt that this person called me a jew & said all those bad things, I am far from mean or judgemental & I worked my tail off for 10 years! I didn't know what to do & it upset me so bax, I had to let it go & move on. I know Estella Combsa too. Most of us lost our admin jobs back in 2007, but some just this year. I had no witness to what happened, it still upsets me very much!, oh & I got a small check for a class action suit against them re: breaks!
Ann Sue November 28, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Although I didn't read word for word, you both have too much idle time to waste. I suggest THAT is the reason for your anger and being fired! You would do better to find a hobbie and stop with the obvious BS you're spewing. Grow up, get a job, and learn to live realistically. Good luck with that and thank God you live in a country that allows you two to act so foolishly. Merry Christmas!
Smokey Bear November 28, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I am going to report you Ann, did you not read , I am a white American. & gave all my spare time to charity for helping people! You are the one with great hate for everyone, get hit by a bus, get aids, hell I dont care!

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