Skip to comments.Supercuts sued for ban on Spanish
Posted on 08/12/2005 6:25:58 AM PDT by jaydubya2
Some Chicago businesses post "Se Habla Espanol" signs to boast about their Spanish-speaking employees.
But two hair stylists said in a federal lawsuit Thursday that their former bosses at Supercuts posted a different sign:
"Speaking a language other than English is not only disrespectful, it's also prohibited."
Stylists say the notice was put up in 2003, directed at employees as Supercuts managers allegedly barred them from speaking Spanish anywhere at work -- including in the break room or other places outside the earshot of customers.
Supercuts says there is no such ban.
"We absolutely, vehemently deny the allegations and believe the evidence will show otherwise," attorney Davi Hirsch said Thursday.
EEOC on the case
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which joined in the lawsuit, argues that such a ban is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin.
The EEOC, along with private attorney Kamran Memon, brought the lawsuit against Primps LLC and Management Advantage Group LLC, which own more than 20 Supercuts salons in the city and suburbs.
One of the stylists, Rosa Gonzalez, 54, of Chicago, said her bosses shot her dirty looks or would reprimand her if she spoke Spanish to co-workers while on break, or at other times, even when customers weren't around.
The ban was lifted, she said, only if a customer didn't know any English.
"I think it's not fair," said Gonzalez, who came to the United States 27 years ago from Guanajuato, Mexico. "Business[es] need to understand that we are free to speak our language."
No such rule, company says
Memon said Gonzalez and another stylist who filed the lawsuit, Blanca Sauceda, were reprimanded sometimes several times a week for speaking in Spanish on breaks. The two worked for the company at various locations for more than 10 years.
They ultimately quit at their Michigan Avenue location after they felt uncomfortable at work.
Memon said the two wouldn't challenge a policy that limits Spanish being spoken in front of English-speaking customers. But Memon said Gonzalez and Sauceda were told it was "ignorant" and "disrespectful" to speak Spanish at work.
EEOC trial attorney Ann Henry said the suit was brought after managers allegedly enforced a blanket ban at "more than one location."
But Hirsch, who represents the 20 Supercuts owned by Management Advantage Group, said no such ban exists and that the suggestion of one is ludicrous because Supercuts' work force is heavily Hispanic.
Hirsch said there is a written policy limiting language other than English.
"The goal of the policy was to speak essentially whatever language you chose in the lunchroom or on breaks, when you're not servicing customers," Hirsch said.
Hirsch questioned why the employees didn't raise concerns until after they left the company.
Looks good to me.
I'm with you. Of course, I'm not too worried about the lack of experience of the stylists. A 6 guard on top and a 2 on the sides is hard to mess up too badly.
So the lawsuit has a little bit of truth to it:
"Hirsch said there is a written policy limiting language other than English.
"The goal of the policy was to speak essentially whatever language you chose in the lunchroom or on breaks, when you're not servicing customers," Hirsch said."
This was buried at the end of the article.
But, it appears these women are taking it too far and saying there was a blanket ban.
There is not. If you are on break talking to another employee, you can speak Spanish.
But, when you are with customers, you need to speak English.
Seems reasonable to me.
There is NO OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE UNITED STATES.
I think English should be it, but that effort has failed in the past.
We can give it a try when Bush is out of office if we still have enough Republicans around in Congress.
Well, all that, and New York has always been interested in ONE MONEY!
Wish I'd taken a picture to prove it:
Hospital waiting room sign in English and Spanish, both telling how the hospital will treat you regardless of race, religion, age, etc. The only difference: The Spanish version had an extra sentence about what number to call if you feel you've been discriminated against.
In response to your #99
I repeat what I said earlier, "The inability to communicate with one another is what divides us".
United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I want every immigrant that comes to America to be proud to be an American. "Melting Pot" describes, to me, a conglomeration of many cultures who come together to be one.
You know, I'm trying to figure this out in my mind, I see "Chinatown" in San Francisco and love it. Am I racist? I certainly never thought so, I believe God made man in many colors and don't care what color a person is born under.
I think my resentment of speaking Spanish is because I have to "dial 2" for Spanish and the fact that I feel America should take immigrants from many countries and cultures around the world and we all together will make Americans. What we are getting from Mexico is not "immigration", it is "invasion" with the expectation that we must assimilate into their culture, not the other way around.
The fact is that many of these people speak Spanish in front of many non-spanish speaking people. Of course people are free to speak what they want, but have these people ever heard of "manners"????????? Its just rude, but they don't care one wit, as the quotes in the article clearly show.
What gets stronger by breaking it up? We are a single culture multi-ethnic culture. What you are advocating is anarchy, which is a step toward socialism or communism.
We aren't. We are just aware that WE have the GREATEST culture in the world and we want to preserve it.
We don't appreciate being invaded, in violation of our laws, by hordes of immigrants who arrogantly assume they have no obligation to speak English in public places, while they reap the benefits of OUR English-speaking culture...
I am from the Bronx. Even in the "Italian-American" area, very very few people speak Italian.
However, I cannot say the same of almost every other part of the Bronx where English is like a fourth language. This is hardly a good thing.
Not going to argue that some people move here with the expectation that the country should change for them. My grandmother got ticked off at my father for marrying an "American" as opposed to a "Russian." I think the first generation of immigrants clings to the old country much more than the kids do...
As for pressing "2" for Spanish...I think these types of business responses are for that first generation/wave of immigrants...the ones that have a hard time learning a new language...To me, it's no big deal.
If you go to an ATM in London, there are prompts in several languages...yet London and the UK are doing just fine (save a few Muslim malcontents, and earlier a few Irish malcontents).
In the end, immigrants to this country will assimilate. Why? Because here they will have a chance to succeed and take part in public life (and many of them will do just that).
Close the darn borders !!
Believe me...the Italian neighborhoods were not speaking mostly English in the 20s and 30s...give the hispancis a couple generations...they'll speak English...it happens every time.
To your #113
That is because they are being polite, they are kindly speaking to your in your language as a consideration (since you're in their country that's certainly not a requirement, just a kind consideration).
If you chose to live in their country, and become a citizen of their nation, I would absolutely expect you to learn their language and customs and not expect them to adapt to yours.
I do have to admit I like working where I work, because you have to be an American citizen to work here....
never travelled overseas, don't plan on it. speak english, and that's enough. if i go over seas, it'll be to an english speaking country.
altho i could make it in a number of countries just fine, i can say the three important phrases in a couple languages:
where the toilet?
can i have a beer?