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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: chris1

Sadly, I think this whole PC movement has gone waaaay tooooo far, and now we are seeing the results. With many thanks to the left, and groups such as the ACLU, we have seen the rights of American citizens eroded. Hopefully, at some point, the American public will realize the harm that being 'politically correct' has done to this country...but I'm not holding my breath.
41 posted on 08/12/2005 7:01:35 AM PDT by FairfaxVA (SELECT * FROM liberals WHERE clue > 0. Zero rows returned!)
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To: chris1

S.O.D. actually stands for Stormtroopers Of Death. They did have a song, though, called Speak English or Die.

42 posted on 08/12/2005 7:02:05 AM PDT by T.Smith
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To: T.Smith

Thank you, I knew that since I was 12.

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

No. These people REFUSE to communicate in English. They are not unable, they REFUSE!!!!!!!!

43 posted on 08/12/2005 7:05:49 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: magnieye

Welcome to Free Republic. I hope you enjoyed your stay.

English is America's language. All my ancestors who came over had to learn it. Every other European backgrounded person I've met, their ancestors had to learn it.

There was no movement to accept Italian, German, Polish, Norwegian, or Finnish. They had to learn English, there's no reason for current immigrants to not learn English

44 posted on 08/12/2005 7:06:24 AM PDT by GopherGOPer
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To: Tulane

So, would you be opposed to a business posting a message stating they sell only American made products?

English IS and will be the official language of the United States, if we wish to remain united. There'd be a lot more effort on the part of Hispanics to assimilate into American culture if there were much less accomodation.

45 posted on 08/12/2005 7:06:28 AM PDT by azhenfud (This tag line is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.)
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To: misterrob

Sadly, no. She's no hairy chested Siberian tree trunk, but she's not all that hot either.

46 posted on 08/12/2005 7:07:19 AM PDT by T.Smith
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To: magnieye

"That does not take away from the fact that we are also Cuban."

Wrong. You are either American or you are Cuban, not both. You may be American, and have Cuban heritage, but unless you have dual citizenship, you are one or the other.

47 posted on 08/12/2005 7:07:22 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: azhenfud

Unless we are committed to make these people assimilate or GO THE F%^&& BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM, we will be very divided and balkanized.

48 posted on 08/12/2005 7:09:27 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton, Jr.)
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To: magnieye

I disagree with you. When I lived in Germany I had to learn to speak and read German. If people wish to speak in their cultural language (my parents spoke German, Russian and English) at home or in private conversations amongst themselves - thats fine. But our forefathers spoke ENGLISH. Our Constitution was written in ENGLISH. Signs in Spanish are repulsive to me. Wake up - we've been invaded!

49 posted on 08/12/2005 7:11:51 AM PDT by proudofthesouth (Boycotting movies since 1988)
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To: magnieye
It doesn't offend me, freak me out, or think that they are talking about me. I accept it and move on.

Sorry I can't accept it. You can say you're not offended, but I am very offended by their use of language as a discriminatory tactic to avoid being in compliance with many basic work regulations, such as the many types of harassment banned in the workplace. Why can't I get over it? Cause as a manager I am supposed to enforce those nondiscrimination policies. English is the common language of the business world and again anything else come across appearing as discrimination. I've seen examples go both ways and if I have to crack down on English speakers taking advantage of someone who doesn't understand the should I crack down on foreign speakers gathered in the corner of a break-room speaking in foreign tongue and leering at the secretary who comes in to get a cup of coffee. They're contributing to a hostile work place and that is just as much against the law for them as it is for my English speaking employees. Get it.

50 posted on 08/12/2005 7:14:25 AM PDT by EBH (Never give-up, Never give-in, and Never Forget)
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To: magnieye
Why is bilingualism and the ability to speak another language considered to be offensive anyway?

Tuus stultum est? (Or would you perhaps prefer that I make comments about you in a common language?)

No one cares what language people speak at home (see my tagline...). However, to speak around (and about) people in a language they do not understand (especially when you are in their country... and maybe not even legally) is very rude. Likewise, it is a symptom of a refusal of many of the people involved to assimilate into the culture of the country they have immigrated to.

When you move to another country, you should have the basic respect to adopt the culture of your new home. It is not an accident that Mexico is a violent Third-world hellhole with little opportunity for these people, and the U.S. is a productive land of opportunity. It is a product of the different cultures. So stop trying to change our culture to be like the dysfunctional one you left, folks!

Foods are not culture (the idea that eating spaghetti is a sign of "cultural" resistance is idiotic). Until the late twentieth century, immigrants to America all assimilated into the general American culture (sometimes slowly and painfully... but always in the end), to the benefit of both. Only in the past ~45 years have immigrants had active encouragement (from liberals and activists) not to assimilate, and it shows in the increasing balkanization in America. If people actually cared about immigrants, they would fight this, as minority cultures will almost always be the ones to suffer in societies as a whole (what demographics are most vulnerable to crime and poverty now? Coincidence?)...

51 posted on 08/12/2005 7:15:03 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwt! Lr bi mst hord, solce!)
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To: muawiyah
When you know enough Spanish you find out that all too many Hispanic conversations in the workplace are heavily tinged with vile racial and sexual slurs, innuendo and insults.

They also spew their hatred of Americans. We have a Mexican restaurant in our area run by Mexican illegals and when an American Spanish speaking customer goes in there, he receives a shock to his system.

Few people realize how much the illegals hate us. As more come in, thanks to Bush, Americans are going to become targets of their hatred. Even the scum who loves illegal immigration are going to get the wake up call too late.

52 posted on 08/12/2005 7:15:10 AM PDT by swampfox98 (How American became a nation of traitors: Greed, corrupt politicians and religious leaders.)
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To: jaydubya2

Preventing your employees from speaking a different language than English on the job is not discrimination nor a violation of anyone's rights, IMO.

If this employer had a policy where people weren't allowed to speak Spanish on breaks or when no customers were around, they're over-controlling jerks. However, such a rule doesn't violate anyone's rights.

53 posted on 08/12/2005 7:15:12 AM PDT by Modernman ("A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." -Disraeli)
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To: Tulane

Well, I guess I am an idiot then...I think that is just about the dumbest business policy I have ever heard of...the idea is to attract as many customers as possible...not alienate them by banning their language...

Perhaps you should start a haircut chain based on that assumption, and get rich on the errors of your competitors.

You can attract all the people looking for a cheap haircut in a third-world-sounding underclass workplace.

(To many people, when a Hispanic-looking person seems unable to speak English well, it is assumed that he is less intelligent, less responsible, less skilled, and less respecting of laws and social norms.)

54 posted on 08/12/2005 7:16:33 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: calex59
BTW, I think a federal law should be passed to prevent anyone who doesn't speak fluid english to work at a drive through window.

You're not serious, are you?

55 posted on 08/12/2005 7:16:44 AM PDT by Modernman ("A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." -Disraeli)
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To: magnieye
The problem most folks (including me) have is the refusal of so many Hispanics to integrate into the American culture (i.e. learn the language and use it.) Immigrants of other nationalities who have made it to our shores over the previous decades still speak their native languages, but have become fluent in English and most of them use it when they are out in public places.

I have worked at an electronic parts store in the Midwest for almost twenty years now, and I cannot begin to tell you the number of times someone has either called in an order or stopped by in person to place an order and their English was so horribly bad and fragmented that, if I were lucky, I could pick out 1 out of every twenty words. And fully 95 percent of them were Hispanic. I have a family of Hispanics that live next door to me. About eight people live there, and only two of them can speak any English at all, and they have lived there for at least six years!

I don't have a problem with someone using their native language when talking to each other, but they should learn command of the English language and use it when trying to communicate with other people in public.
56 posted on 08/12/2005 7:17:21 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Islam is war)
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To: jaydubya2

Funny related story. A friend was having her nails done at one of those Asian places where nobody speaks English. The TV was set to Days of Our Lives, and all the nail techs were quietly watching and occasionally murmuring to each other in Chinese. An older Chinese man came out from the back room and switched the channel. My friend's nail tech, who was the oldest woman there, immediately turned to the older Chinese man and began loudly berating him in Chinese while gesturing at the TV, and the man (obviously her husband) promptly switched the channel back. My friend smiled at the nail tech and said, "You like Days of Our Lives too, huh?" The nail tech's eyebrows shot up and she then asked my friend, "You speak Chinese?"

57 posted on 08/12/2005 7:17:56 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
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To: Modernman
If this employer had a policy where people weren't allowed to speak Spanish on breaks or when no customers were around, they're over-controlling jerks.

I must respectfully disagree with you there. As a manager, I am responsible if any of my staff are committing sexual (or other) harassment of another employee. How can I possibly control this if they insist on speaking a language I do not understand?

58 posted on 08/12/2005 7:20:07 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: proudofthesouth

"Speaking a language other than English is not only disrespectful, it's also prohibited."
This sign ought to be posted in every business in this country.

AMEN!!!! I speak Spanish and I can not count how many times I have seen trashy Spanish speaking employees speak Spanish just so they can talk trash about people in front of them!

59 posted on 08/12/2005 7:21:11 AM PDT by American Vet Repairman
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To: magnieye
I live in SE Florida and usually get my hair cut at supercuts. #4 on top #2 on the sides, nothing fancy, and I want it done in less than 10 minutes, and NO I don't want any "product"! I don't think the South Florida super-cuts people got the No Spanish memo...I always use my ten minutes in the chair to practice my Spanish with the girls. The Latinas are one of my favorite things about living down here. And for the record Spanish has been spoken in Florida hundreds of years longer than English has. I have a lot of Spanish speaking friends, if they are conversing in Spanish when I approach they will switch to English, not because they're talking about me but out of respect. Unless they are arguing, then it's always in Spanish, I'm told Spanish is a far superior language for arguments.
60 posted on 08/12/2005 7:22:32 AM PDT by IYAAYAS (Live free or die trying)
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