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.
If you study historical and present geopolitics, you will find that language is the great unifier and divider. Nations which are multilingual have a much, much more difficult time staying unified and peaceful than nations which are monolingual. This has been true throughout history and into the present time.
Allowing America to become bi-lingual is asking for the same problems Canada is having.
I can guarantee you that at some point, the Spanish speaking minority will begin demanding that SPANISH be the primary langauge of the United States. Then the friction begins.
I think as the boss I have the right to make rules which prohibit such things on my property<<<<
There is one rule that can not be argued when it comes to restricting a Foreign language at the work place: SAFETY
In some Businesses..if an employee can not communicate properly..it is a Safety Issue.
Spanish has a "sound" that conveys anger a bit better than English. In fact, English is so full of "soothers" and "s" sounds that many non-native speakers thought it was totally devoid of emotional content ~ until they learned it!
Why are we so afraid of other cultures. Just because Hispanics are not from an Anglo-Saxon culture means we are being invaded.
Guess what Hispanics have been in this country since its founding. If I am not mistaken the first true colony was from Spain not England.
We speak English by happenstance. Our founding fathers found it wise not to make English the official language. This is because they realize that this country is a land of immigrants and its success is due to the blood, sweat, and tears of those immigrants (wherever they are from).
If your employees are making sexual comments or whatever about another employee who doesn't speak the language, that person won't even know they're being harassed, so it's a non-issue. The only people who would have a problem would be other Spanish-speakers, who would presumably tell you if they found what was being said to be offensive.
No one says that you shouldn't speak your language, keep your culture and celebrate your heritage. People who come to America should be required to learn the language. You came to America, we didn't go to Cuba. Speak the language.
Which native language?
* Chinook Jargon
* Gros Ventre
* Mikmac (Mi'kmaq)
* Montagnais Innu
* Unangam Tunuu
He came here to Washington, DC one summer for a visit. We decided to go to Ocean City, MD for the day. While there, he found this shirt:
He wore it all day. He was so proud. He wanted everyone to know he was an American.
That night, my wife and I took him out for supper at this place that had really great food. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was nearly empty. During our time, the place seemed to fill up to where there was almost no elbow room.
In a matter of a half hour, the place looked like something that would make the bar in Star Wars look like a Diner's Club Top Pick. Oh, this place was a Cuban restaurant. I look across the table to read the shirt. "Dan," I said, "Look at your shirt. If you want to walk out of here alive, follow me to the bathroom where you can turn it inside out." He turned ashen white. He followed and obeyed. The ironic thing is, if you can't speak English, you wouldn't be able to read the shirt.
> We are in America. Speak English, that is the language. Not Spanish.
Freedom of Speech means I can speak any language I damn well please. Got that, amigo? :-) At the same time a company should have the right to say to its employees, "Business shall conducted in English." However, inasmuch as Spanish has become the de facto language in many places, some companies stand to lose money if Spanish is forbidden.
You are incredibly uninformed and ignorant of history. Thereis so much wrong with your statement I don't know where to begin. Are you a troll or do you seriously wish for the Balkanization of the United States?
Funniest thing, there still is!
Absolutely. Why that simple fact is lost on so many is a source of amazement for me.
Funny you mention that about Super Cuts...the first and only time I went their, the guy accidently cut me with the scissors...Since I am border line hypchondriac, I was freaked out for about 5 years.
I wonder with which part of my history am I uninformed and ingnorant.
English is not the official language of the United States. If so, please find the law and post it. If it is, we will have to re-educate portions of the South. Since what they speak most of the time with each other cannot even be considered English.
Secondly, the first colony in North America was St. Augustine. A Spanish colony. It was formed years before the Mayflower ever landed on Plymouth Rock.
Thirdly, I am not a troll and know I am not looking for the Balkanization of the US. You use the Balkans as an area that was destroyed by their diversity. I present to you the United States that has flourished on its diversity.
So, would you be opposed to a business posting a message stating they sell only American made products?
No, of course not.
English IS and will be the official language of the United States, if we wish to remain united.
Legally, this is incorrect...there is no official language.
It used to be (my German Mom is one of them) when immigrants came to this country they were PROUD to speak and read ENGLISH.
BTW, my IMMIGRANT Mom who is about as far to the left as I'm to the righr agrees with me on this issue. She speaks German only in private conversations.
Of course I won't start a haircut chain...I don't want to go broke...
I do own several apartment buildings and did translate my lease into Spanish...it has made a HUGE difference in my OP. My OP is up about 5% since I did it...
As I stated in another post, I also had a translator make "cheat cards" for our maintanence guys...best operations move I ever made...The tenants are happy (word of mouth advertising, baby), the maintanence guys are more efficient, and my building are worth more, since I can show a higher OP.
Well, I am Russian...my grandparents came here in the 30s. They always spoke Russian around the house (and a couple of them never really got the hang of English)...they were proud of their heritage (and so am I). The same will happen with hispanics, just give it a generation.