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Supercuts sued for ban on Spanish
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | August 12, 2005 | NATASHA KORECKI

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.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: eeoc; englishplease; lawsuit; scamlaw
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To: Tulane
I fell uncomfortable anytime someone speaks another language around me.

I think as the boss I have the right to make rules which prohibit such things on my property.

If they want to leave the premises... they can speak whatever language they want.
21 posted on 08/12/2005 6:49:42 AM PDT by Texas_Conservative2
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To: magnieye

If you can not understand the difference between holding on to one's culture and refusing to assimilate, you have absolutely no concept of what this country's history or character are all about.

22 posted on 08/12/2005 6:50:06 AM PDT by RebelBanker (To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!)
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To: magnieye

many areas in this country and you will find so called "true" Americans still eating spaghetti, kielbasa, gyros, and SPEAKING ENGLISH!!!!!!!!!!!!

23 posted on 08/12/2005 6:51:13 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: chris1

Trust me...I know what its like dealing with Spanish customers...I had my lease translated into has really helped me attract more tenants and has cut down on the confusion...

I also had a linguist translate/draft "cheat cards" for our maintanence guys...They can give a card to a tenant who points to the corresponding "problem picture" (like a toilet) so our fix-it people can understand what the problem is. Works great.

24 posted on 08/12/2005 6:51:42 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: Tulane

If a company policy is not illegal, then it is the company's right to dictate whatever policy they wish. If you don't agree, quit. As with so much of our current society, the tail wags the dog. I'm fed up with employee 'rights'. The employee is supposed to do the employer's bidding, not the other way around.

25 posted on 08/12/2005 6:52:13 AM PDT by Right Brother
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To: muawiyah

Let's play that card now right????

Why not give back Texas, CA, and AZ???????????????

26 posted on 08/12/2005 6:52:46 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: chris1

Lol...I've been in this business long enogh to have people skip...Skippers are of all me...some of my best tenants are BLACK MUSLIMS...they keep the place clean, they don't drink alcohol...and they pay on the first...

27 posted on 08/12/2005 6:53:19 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: calex59

i'll walk out of any asian restaurant where they openly speak other languages in front of customers. my favourite place apparently has policy that it is english only at front of house. i actually heard one of the counter girls request that a customer speak english for the comfort of the other customers (she got a big tip that day)

28 posted on 08/12/2005 6:53:25 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: magnieye
Hey, folks who are bilingual or nearly bilingual can tell you that night and day they hear a distinct difference between what is said in English and what is said in Spanish IN THE WORKPLACE.

There's no reason the other employees, or the customers, need be exposed to such abusive comments, and the easiest way to ENFORCE a standard IN THE WORKPLACE is to limit speech to a common tongue also spoken by the owner or supervisor.

If these guys want to go home and speak to their families in the same manner, they are welcome to do so, but they have got to keep it OUT OF THE WORKPLACE.

Or, alternatively, they can go back wherever it was they came from and adhere to a different standard.

You really cannot defend the right of someone to heap abuse on a customer simply because the customer doesn't understand the employee's language.

29 posted on 08/12/2005 6:54:32 AM PDT by muawiyah (/ hey coach do I gotta' put in that "/sarcasm " thing again?)
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To: Right Brother

Definitely don't disagree...that said...if I could attract more customers by having Spanish speaking employees, I would want the language in my office...I would not want my employees to make English speaking customers feel uncomfortable.

30 posted on 08/12/2005 6:55:20 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: Texas_Conservative2


31 posted on 08/12/2005 6:56:23 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: absolootezer0

Asians, to me, are model citizens. Very humble, very accomodating, very respectful, very eager to fit in and get along with people, and rarely rarely ever commit violent crimes.

They should be the model, not the trash that is infesting our country and demanding we change for them.

32 posted on 08/12/2005 6:56:39 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: chris1
Naw ~ let's give back Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The King of Spain had a lot of territory.

That ought to leave lots and lots of room for Latinos, and, in fairness, they could then evacuate the Southwest~!

33 posted on 08/12/2005 6:57:33 AM PDT by muawiyah (/ hey coach do I gotta' put in that "/sarcasm " thing again?)
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To: squirt-gun

Put two Spanish speakers together, even if they were both born in the US, and they jabber away in Spanish. It's fine in private, but at work?

34 posted on 08/12/2005 6:58:12 AM PDT by Barney Gumble (Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.)
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To: muawiyah


35 posted on 08/12/2005 6:58:51 AM PDT by Let's Roll ( "Congressmen who ... undermine the military ... should be arrested, exiled or hanged" - A. Lincoln)
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To: chris1

They Asian kids at my daugter's school have parents who can barely speak English, but their kids speak and write English better than I do...I read somewhere that the average white parent spend 30 minutes a night working with kids on homework, the average blak/hispanic parent spend 10 minutes and the average Asian parent spends 2 hours...

36 posted on 08/12/2005 6:59:18 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: Barney Gumble

The only time Spanish is appropriately used as the "first" language at work is in Puerto Rico.

37 posted on 08/12/2005 7:00:02 AM PDT by muawiyah (/ hey coach do I gotta' put in that "/sarcasm " thing again?)
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To: jaydubya2

I've always avoided SuperCuts because the stylists are so often beginners..Now, to heck with what my hair looks like..Suer Cuts here I come!

They may not be hair pros..but they are Pro-United States

38 posted on 08/12/2005 7:00:38 AM PDT by Iron Matron (Illegals should be Caught and Deported; not Released and Supported!)
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To: magnieye
Just because someone chooses to hold on to their culture and their language does not make them less American. Our diversity is what makes us great.

The inability to communicate with one another is what divides us.

See how you are able to communicate on FR? If you typed in Arabic no one would understand. If one wishes to be American, one must learn English, if one change America to be like them, one might as well have stayed in their native country.

39 posted on 08/12/2005 7:01:00 AM PDT by ozarkgirl
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To: chris1

I speak English just fine. Probably better than my Spanish.

I can guarantee you though that I make more moeny at my chosen profession because I speak both languages.

My family and I consider ourselves to be American, that does not take away from the fact that we are also Cuban. There isn't a problem with being both.

BTW...I work for a Japanese company where the Japanese employees speak Japanese between them. It doesn't offend me, freak me out, or think that they are talking about me. I accept it and move on.

Get over it. We are different and there is nothing wrong with that.

40 posted on 08/12/2005 7:01:25 AM PDT by magnieye (American and Cuban....and proud of both....)
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