A group of Hispanic custodians in Colorado, one of whom was injured on the job, are claiming they are victims of discrimination. They have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the college that employs them, claiming their civil rights have been violated.
The nature of the complaints - the alleged violations that have resulted in this claim of discrimination? The college was not communicating with them in Spanish, their native language. The custodians claim that this has resulted in miscommunication over a schedule change, as well as other critical areas that affect their jobs. According to the source story, “The complaint accused the campus of purposely leaving employees that only speak Spanish in the dark on the terms and conditions of their employment, changes in their working status, safety and more”. One employee, a graveyard shift custodian, claims she was injured on the job when she was unable to read a warning sign in English. That employee was quoted as saying, “If I could speak English I wouldn't have the problems that exist”.
If I could be so bold, I might point out that if she could speak English she might not be a graveyard shift janitor. But what do I know? I am just an insensitive ass who speaks English.
The campus where these custodians work, the Auraria Higher Education Center, says there is not a state law in Colorado requiring them to provide all documents in multiple languages. Auraria runs the campus for Metro State University of Denver, the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver, and they apparently dare to expect their employees to have at least a limited knowledge of English. Campus spokesperson, Blaine Nickeson is quoted as saying, “It's not our goal to provide every document translated or every conversation translated. Our employees are expected to interact with members of the public and that interaction we expect them to be able to understand English.”
Give that man a cigar. What a refreshingly bold comment, particularly when you consider where it came from. College campuses today are ground zero for the politically correct thought Nazis, so to hear such a refreshingly common sense statement from an institute of higher learning gives me great joy. If I had a child, I would send him, or her - let's just say “it”- I would send it to the Auraria Higher Education Center in Colorado. Well, first I would make sure it could speak English, and then I would send it to the Auraria Higher Education Center in Colorado.
Someone should however take the time to explain to our Spanish speaking graveyard custodian that the EEOC doesn't handle injury claims. There was no mention if she actually ever filed a workers' comp claim. But, of course, that is not the point. I am ignoring the bigger issue. The ever growing list of civil rights that may now be violated by uncaring and ignorant employers continues to expand at a voluminous rate. Now we potentially see language as a core right, and with the related defenses that accompany this “right”, a new layer of policy, procedure and bureaucracy for American employers.
Let's put that in our globally competitive pipe and smoke it.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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