MAY 04, 2007
The U.S. government is suing a well-known Christian charity for discrimination because it required two Hispanic employees at its Massachusetts thrift store to speak English.
The Salvation Army has a policy requiring its thrift-store employees to speak English and it gave two clothes sorters at a Framingham store a year to learn some English. When the women – one from the Dominican Republic and the other from El Salvador – refused, the charity fired them.
Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the taxpayer-funded federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws, is suing the Salvation Army for violating the women’s civil rights by forcing them to stop speaking their native language.
In a lawsuit, recently filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, the federal government accuses the charity of unlawful employment practices that were done with malice and reckless indifference to the women’s federally protected rights. It also accuses the Salvation Army of inflicting emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment and humiliation.
In other words, the Bush Administration is essentially saying that immigrants who must learn English to work in this country are being severely discriminated against. After all, the EEOC’s five commissioners and general counsel are all presidential appointments confirmed by the Senate.
This latest case appears to be a waste of American taxpayer dollars since federal courts have broadly upheld an employer’s right to require employees to speak English on the job. In fact, a judge has in the past ruled that the Salvation Army’s English policy is perfectly legal. The 2003 ruling said that another of the charity’s Boson-area thrift stores was within its rights to fire a bilingual employee who refused to speak English when told do so by her boss.
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