Politics

Janitors claim discrimination due to lack of Spanish translations

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

A group of Spanish-speaking custodial workers in Colorado have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that the Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver discriminated against them by failing to provide Spanish translations.

The complaint, filed last week by a dozen custodial workers, contends that the employees suffered unfair working conditions because the AHEC failed to provide Spanish translations of policies and procedures.

“Other higher education facilities including CU and UNC provide information to their custodial employees in a number of different languages,” Tim Markham, attorney for Colorado WINS, the union representing the workers, said in a statement. “We’ve been discussing this with Auraria for a year with no movement on their part, and this is the final step.”

AHEC vice president Blaine Nickeson told The Daily Caller that AHEC — the state agency which oversees the operations of the campus for Metropolitan State University of Denver, the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver — has not yet seen the complaint but is aware of it from news reports.

“We’re not aware of any state statue that requires translation into a native language or any state policy that requires it either,” Nickeson said.

He added that, with more than 100 custodial workers, Spanish speakers are not the only non-English speakers.

“We have more than just Spanish speakers that work for us, so it would be difficult to do that for each and every native language,” Nickeson said, adding that the AHEC attempts to provide translations where they can on issues such as benefits or disciplinary action.

Nickeson added that the AHEC’s internal discrimination outlets had not received any complaints to this effect.

The complaint coincides with protests from a small group of custodial workers who have been upset with shift changes, Nickeson told TheDC, noting that the objections about lack of Spanish translations seem to be coming from the same people who are unsatisfied with their shifts.

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