Lack of access to Language Services for American Samoans who are part of the back bone of Hawaii & America

Posted on February 4, 2014

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“Coca Cola: No Human Rights”, watch our Pathways to Paradise TV interview at link below:

http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=30&clip_id=39035

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Breaking the back bone of America, we have been watching growing concerns for a lack of protection and care for our workers, and in particular this is true for many of the American Samoa descendants working and raising their families here in Hawaii.

Ropati Tautua shared that he worked for Coca Cola for over a decade, and in May of 1999, Mr. Tautua had a back injury while on the job working as a driver for Coca Cola.
Mr. Tautua said, “I was hard working and very dedicated to my employer – Coca Cola, like my American Samoa Ancestors, we Samoans are known for our hard work.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Tautua told us, that all of his hard work and dedication, was for nothing, because “once I became injured my wages were gone” and I have suffered even more hardship, trying to support a growing family and children. Mr. Tautua alleges that a lack of transparency and accountability of the process and partial payments for his injury has been a confusing decade of delays in compensation for more than 14 years. And to add to his economic hardships. Mr. Tautua said he has had to navigate trying to understand the Work Comp system alone, as English is Mr. Tautua’s second language, adding more stress besides continuing to suffer with back pain. He told us it is just as painful to try to understand the Workman’s Compensation policies and Department of Labor and Industrial Relationships Lawyers, but as an American Samoan, Mr. Tautua alleges that he has not received any access to Language Services, and to have a timely due process of his claim. And with over 14 years of stress he has filed for a new hearing. Mr. Tautua said “this is basically more than a decade of discrimination and racism by the DLIR and Coca Cola” with denial of not only access to Language Services, but, the lack of transparency and accountability of prior request for the production of documents and verification of partial payments and the delays in a final settlement of his Workman’s Compensation claim for his back injury has cost him and his family.

In review of the correspondences for Mr. Tautua’s Workman’s Compensation case the American Samoan Government Offices, Director, Afimutasi Gus Hannemann is concerned on several points.

The American Samoan Government Offices here in Hawaii is looking into Mr. Tautua case, and across the board of what they feel is a major concern for many fellow American Samoan workers, for whom their 2nd language is English, and the fact that Mr. Tautua has not been provided any interpreter/interpretation assistance services by the Hawaii State – Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) and the delays in a resolve to Mr. Tautua’s claim and full compensation for the back injury that has been ongoing for more than 14 years now.

Mr. Tautua’s has made a request for a new hearing, beside the denial of any interpreter/interpretation assistance services by the Hawaii State – Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR), Mr. Tautua has asked to explore the offset in payments, and to see the full Production of Documents and proof of all partial payments receipts to Mr. Tautua.

We are very concerned with many parts of Mr. Tautua’s claim, in particular, the allegations of not being provided interpreter/interpretation Language assistance services by the Hawaii State DLIR and neglecting the policies and rules of the Hawaii State Law (Act 190) and (Act 290), Relating to Language Access. The previous denial and diversions of the request for a new hearing, to explore the offset in payments, and to see the Production of Documents and proof of all partial payments receipts to Mr. Tautua, and the additional entitlements and final settlement. Adding to the concerns and Mr. Tautua’s suffering is what appears to be by BCI Coca Cola Bottling Co., Inc. and the Hawaii State – Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) the dictacting of Mr. Tautua’s “doctor’s, regime for his health care, services, Mr. Tautua’s medication choices and alternatives for his Work Comp injuries”.

His family is concerned that this insentivity to Mr. Tautua, does not allow for him any due process, and warrants Mr. Tautua’s feeling that “this is Criminal intimidation” , he does not trust that the DLIR and the Work comp has his health and health care choices, as a priority, but instead a dictatorship and is denying his right to a due process. Which serves as only as deviations in responses and accountability to Mr. Tautua’s request for a new hearing.

Mr. Tautua also stated that he has no legal representation, while the company BCI Coca Cola Bottling Co., Inc. and the Hawaii State – Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) all have a team of professional staff and legal counsel. Yet, Mr. Tautua is tasked with trying to interpret and navigate the Workman’s Compensation laws, claim processes and policies on his own.

Many of the letters from the legal counsel of BCI Coca Cola Bottling Co., Inc. and the Hawaii State – Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) that Mr. Tautua provided us, show concuring statements of Mr. Tautua concerns with the Language interpretation. Letters commenting to the fact that Mr. Tautua does not understand and is confused about his Workman’s Compensation Claim. Yet it appears that Mr. Tautua’s right to a timely due process and Language interpretation is denied, and confirms the American Samoan Governments Offices concerns of Mr. Tautua’s rights to due process.

**Watch tonight the TV Interview:

Pathways to Paradise
Coca Cola: No Human Rights #125
Wednesday, February 19, 08:30 pm on OLELO ch55 in Honolulu

or watch online at click on http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=91

Check back, we will be posting the request for the new hearing along with other documents.

New American Samoa law fights human trafficking

Posted: Apr 03, 2014 5:40 AM HST
Updated: Apr 03, 2014 5:43 AM HST

By FILI SAGAPOLUTELE
Associated Press http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/…/new-american-samoa-law…

New American Samoa law fights human trafficking
http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com
American Samoa’s anti-human trafficking measure will take effect in June after the acting governor signed it into law last week.

Concerns of unfair labor practices, Language Access & the rights of injured employees by Coca Cola and the DLIR

Concerns of unfair labor practices, Language Access & the rights of injured employees by Coca Cola and the DLIR

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