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Spanish-speaking workers claim discrimination in California

Is speaking only in English in the United States discrimination? Several Spanish-speaking workers at a California facility have spoken out and said it is. According to the six Spanish-speaking employees at the local Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, the facility has a no-Spanish policy that is discriminatory.

The lawsuit claims that the rule in strictly enforced even during lunch breaks or other break periods. On top of that, the policy states that English should be spoken because it is the official language of California and should be used while doing the work of the state. Legally, the United States has no official language.

Under the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act in California, it's unjust for employers to prohibit the use of any language in the workplace unless it's going to affect the business in some way. These workers are food service workers and a custodian; they do not interact with families of patients or patients during their typical job duties. All the people who brought the lawsuit against the company have been long-term employees with Spanish as a native language.

As part of the lawsuit, the group claimed that they were eavesdropped on, and if Spanish was being spoken, they would be disciplined. They claim this creates a hostile work environment where they are systematically intimidated and bullied. They also claim they are not given the opportunity to advance due to speaking English as a secondary language and are treated as second-class employees.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Lawsuit: English-only policy at Costa Mesa's Fairview center is discrimination," Kelly Puente, July 03, 2015

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