English-Only Sign Gets Manager in Trouble
By George Anderson
What do they say about good intentions and the road to hell?
A 20-year old manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts in Yonkers, NY may have been doing the right thing when he responded to complaints about workers being disrespectful by speaking in
Spanish while waiting on customers. He just shouldn’t have put up a sign forbidding them to speak to each other in Spanish while speaking with one another behind the counter.
The manager Juan Chalco, himself a Spanish speaker born in Ecuador, put up the sign in response to customer complaints only to find others thought he was discriminating against
workers by requiring them to speak in English even if it had nothing to do with customers.
Albert Thompson, a computer repairman and customer of the store admitted the workers speaking to one another in Spanish made him “wonder if they’re talking about you.’
Josie Lopez, another customer of the store who speaks Spanish and English, said obviously customers should be addressed in English but when workers are speaking among themselves,
“Nobody should tell them what language to speak.’
Dunkin’ Donuts corporate office agrees and told Mr. Chalco and the store franchisee to remove the sign. No disciplinary action was planned against the manager.
Moderator’s Comment: As a consumer, have you ever felt strange when workers speak to each other in a language you do not understand while you are being
waited on? Should stores be able to mandate the language workers speak while on the clock? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Foreign-born Yonkers doughnut shop manager issues English-only edict
– The Associated Press/CBS New York