AUTHOR: Judy Greenwald
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against supermarket chain Albertsons Inc., charging it violated federal law when it allegedly prohibited Hispanic employees from speaking Spanish around non-Spanish speakers, including when they spoke to Spanish-speaking customers and during breaks.
The EEOC said in a statement Thursday that Albertsonsâ€™ San Diego Hispanic employees were subjected to harassment and a hostile work environment through the implementation of the no-Spanish policy, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
â€œEmployers have to be aware of the consequences of certain language policies,â€ said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOCâ€™s Los Angeles District Office, which includes San Diego County in its jurisdiction, in the statement. â€œTargeting 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.â€
A spokesman for the Boise, Idaho-based chain could not immediately be reached for comment.