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Grocery Store Allegedly Harassed Hispanic Workers For Speaking Spanish During Breaks

REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

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A San Diego grocery store allegedly harassed Hispanic workers for speaking Spanish during breaks, according to the New York Post Thursday.

Albertsons’ managers are accused of implementing a no Spanish speaking policy after reprimanding Hispanic employees for speaking their native language during breaks, according to a lawsuit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed. The managers’ alleged actions violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the EEOC. Managers also forced employees to speak English to other Spanish customers. Many of the Hispanic employees switched locations as a result of the allegedly hostile work environment.

“It is extremely important for workers to feel safe in coming forward to report harassment,” Christopher Green, the director of the San Diego branch of the EEOC, said in a press release. “It is equally important for employers to make certain that harassment is investigated and addressed appropriately.”

“Employers have to be aware of the consequences of certain language policies,” Anna Park, the regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, also noted in the EEOC’s press release. “Targeting 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.”

“While we cannot comment on this pending litigation specifically, Albertsons does not require that its employees speak English only. Albertsons serves a diverse customer population and encourages employees with foreign language abilities to use those skills to serve its customers,” an Albertsons’ spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Albertsons is a national grocery chain that employs approximately 280,000 people in 35 different states. The first store opened in Boise, Idaho, in 1939, according to their official website.

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