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Fox News reports that the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has sued Albertsons, charging that one of its Southern California stores “harassed its Hispanic employees and subjected them to a hostile work environment by limiting when they could speak Spanish on the job.” The suit says that store managers “barred Hispanic workers from speaking Spanish around non-Spanish speakers, even during breaks or when dealing with Spanish-speaking customers.”

Anna Park, an EEOC attorney, said in a statement that “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.”

The EEOC says that the Albertsons policy violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to Fox News, “Albertsons wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but said in a statement that it does not require 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,’ the statement said.”
KC's View:
Hard to say, because the charges have just been filed, but this sound suspiciously like an isolated case where one or two managers overstepped their authority and imposed rules that they thought sounded good but actually created discord.

That doesn’t mean the the EEOC suit is wrong. In fact, iut serves as a strong reminder - like the recent events at a Philadelphia Starbucks that resulted in a racial bias controversy - of bow easily a company’s image and reputation can be damaged when one or two people go off the rails, even while trying to do what they think is the right thing. It is a reminder of how important communication, people management and actual leadership are.