Exclusively Employment Law

Galvan v. Dameron Hospital Association: “Stupid”

by | Sep 27, 2019 | Discrimination, Harassment

Originally Published on August 28, 2020; Revised on February 10, 2021

n the California Court of Appeal decision, Galvan v. Dameron Hospital Association (2019) 37 Cal.App.5th 549, the Court of Appeal discusses the types of workplace statements (by a supervisor) that could make an employer liable for national origin and age discrimination.

In Galvan, Plaintiff Shirley Galvan (“Plaintiff”), a registered nurse, sued her former employer Dameron Hospital Association and her former supervisor Doreen Alvarez (“Alvarez”) for national origin and age discrimination and national origin and age harassment. Plaintiff was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States. Because English is her second language, she speaks English with a strong accent.

At the time of the complained-of conduct, Plaintiff was 54 years old and had been working at Dameron Hospital for approximately 25 years. During the last six years of her employment there, Plaintiff held the position of unit coordinator in the medical-surgical department. The majority of the unit coordinators in the medical-surgical department were Filipino, and Alvarez served as the department’s director.

Alvarez’s alleged conduct was egregious. For instance:

1. Alvarez allegedly criticized the unit coordinators who spoke English as a second language, often focusing her comments on their accents and their allegedly poor English language skills. At one meeting, Alvarez allegedly told the unit coordinators, “I don’t know how Dameron gets you guys. Your accents are thick. [You] don’t know what [you’re] doing.”

She also read from performance evaluations drafted by unit coordinators and criticized their grammar, stating that her young son could write better than they could.

2. Alvarez allegedly singled out the Filipino unit coordinators, saying that “they are old, dummy, can’t think, can’t stand them, been here for too long.”

3. Alvarez allegedly said that Filipinos were “stupid” and that she did not “know what they are saying half the time.”

4. Alvarez allegedly said that Filipinos “didn’t have enough brains to pass” an EKG test.

Read the full California Court of Appeal opinion here.

If you believe that you have been subjected to national origin or age discrimination in the workplace, call ((916) 612-0326) or email ([email protected]) Finley Employment Law today. We serve clients throughout California, including Sacramento, Roseville, Davis, Folsom, and Elk Grove.

The information in this blog post is for general informational and advertising purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Instead, you should speak with a California employment attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.