Lawsuit Says Albertsons Banned Employees From Speaking Spanish

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Word of the store’s discriminatory policy got around after Spanish-speaking employees began to complain and some even transferred to other locations.

A San Diego, California, Albertsons grocery store is in hot water for creating a hostile work environment for its Hispanic employees with a no-Spanish language policy.

According to a United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit, the store managers at the San Diego location would publicly chastise employees who were caught speaking Spanish, The Mercury News reports.

They were not permitted to speak the language around any non-Spanish speakers, not even on their own time during breaks or while communicating with customers who spoke Spanish.

Word of the discriminatory policy got around after employees began to complain and some even transferred to other locations.

“Targeting a particular language for censorship is often synonymous with targeting a particular national origin, which is both illegal and highly destructive to workplace morale and productivity,” said Anna Park, an attorney with the EEOC’s Los Angeles district office.

Alberstons’ executives wouldn’t comment directly on the lawsuit, but they did issue a statement clarifying that they do not have a company policy that requires employees to only speak English.

"Albertsons serves a diverse customer population and encourages employees with foreign language abilities to use those skills to serve its customers," the statement said.

By implementing the racist rule, the store is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the EEOC.

“It is extremely important for workers to feel safe in coming forward to report harassment,” said Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego office. “It is equally important for employers to make certain that harassment is investigated and addressed appropriately.”

Now, Albertsons is learning the hard way that it doesn't pay to be racist as karma is moving in swiftly in the form of this federal lawsuit. 

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Fred Prouser 

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