The lawsuit a former lab assistant brought against Quest Diagnostics for not allowing him to speak Vietnamese – even on his own time – appears to have settled last week.
OC Weekly is reporting the racially-charged discrimination case Lake Elsinore resident Hung Trinh filed in April settled quietly Friday. Lawyers for Trinh and Quest 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 in response, company officials issued a denial 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 and its resulting retaliation, Trinh’s lawsuit also alleged the company failed to accommodate his injuries and wrongfully terminated him.
He did not ask for a specific amount of damages, though he was seeking both money to compensate his actual losses and additional money to punish the company for its failings, according to the lawsuit.