The state of California is currently facing a lawsuit claiming that the no-Spanish rule practiced by some government organizations is discrimination. The suit comes from six Spanish-speaking employees of the state's Fairview Development Center in Costa Mesa. The Center is a state-run facility that provides care and housing for approximately 275 developmentally disabled patients.
The plaintiffs claim that the the Development Center has a no-Spanish-speaking policy that is strictly enforced during business hours. and that this policy extends to breaks and lunch periods. In the direct words of the organization's policy, "English is considered to be the official language of the state of California and should be spoken while doing the work of the state unless otherwise indicated by the needs of clients or their families."
According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act, however, a state employer cannot prohibit the use of any language in the workplace unless it directly interferes with business operations. The group of employees suing the Development Center consists of five food service workers and one custodian, none of whom have any direct interaction with patients. As such, their attorney doesn't believe their employer is justified in forbidding them from speaking Spanish. In his words, "if two 50-year-old ladies washing dishes want to have a conversation in Spanish, how is there an overriding business necessity?"
Workplace discrimination is a serious issue. If you believe you've been treated unfairly for whatever reason, submit your claim to the workplace discrimination attorneys here at The Meyers Law Firm. Our staff will review your case and help you determine your best course of action.