Spanish speaking janitors file complaint against English-only school

hispanic custodians file discrimination claim

Photo Credit: CBS 4 Denver

There is an interesting discrimination case developing in Denver that is sure to raise some eyebrows.

A group of 12 Hispanic custodians employed by the Auraria Higher Education Center have filed a discrimination complaint against the campus operator claiming their work related orders and instructions are only being given in English, a language they don’t speak.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reviewing the case, but the complaint could ultimately wind up before a federal judge, CBS 4 Denver reported.

The custodians claim the Auraria Campus is deliberately keeping “employees that only speak Spanish in the dark on the terms and conditions of their employment, changes in their working status, safety and more,” the report said.

Bertha Ribota told CBS “she was injured at work because she couldn’t read a warning sign that was in English.”

“If I could speak English I wouldn’t have the problems that exist,” she said.

However, campus spokesman Blaine Nickeson told CBS there is no state law or statute requiring Auraria Campus to translate. He said they believe “employees should understand some basic English.”

“It is not our goal to provide every document translated or every conversation translated, Nickeson said. “Our employees are expected to interact with members of our public and that interaction – we expect them to be able to communicate with our public.”

Enter attorney Tim Markham who explained the discrimination complaint to CBS: “What is sort of a neutral business practice, that they speak English on campus and it’s an English-only campus actually has a discriminatory impact on this group of workers.”

Watch more on this story from CBS 4 Denver:

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Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. [email protected] Twitter: @JaneenBPR


62 thoughts on “Spanish speaking janitors file complaint against English-only school

  1. Mary Hargrove says:

    I would like to know how old these 12 workers are as they appear to be adults who could have taken advantage of the programs available to immigrants to help them learn the English language. I am also curious as to how long they have lived in the United States? Are they too lazy to learn a new language or just refuse to assimilate to the American culture by learning English? Why should an American company assimilate to their selfish needs if they refuse to learn the language of the country they choose to come to and live in? I grew up in El Paso, Texas and many of my friends and school mates were 2nd generation Americans who were proud to speak English, as were their parents.

    What I do not think is fair is that my son cannot even get a job at a fast food restaurant because he does not speak spanish. When is this type of discrimination going to go before a federal judge?

    1. Kenneth Clark says:

      When you take it there.

  2. Karen Harlow says:

    300 years ago my great-great—–grandfather came here from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania. He had to learn English in order to do business and deal with his English neighbors. This whole deal is one of those cases THAT NEEDS TO BE THROWN OUT OF COURT!!!!It is not our responsibility to make sure everything these people deal with is printed in SPANISH!!!!They need to stop whining and get back to work. Living in Florida for eight years taught me there is always one person in a group that speaks enough English to keep the rest out of trouble. Here in PA you have to speak AND READ enough English to get the job done or you don't get the job!!!!! So, how did they get the job in the first place?????????????????? Kwityurbitchin!!!!!!!!!I refuse to learn Spanish to do business in my own country and I send a weekly email to both US Senators and my US Rep to try to get English made the OFFICIAL language of the US. Otherwise, if Obummer gets illegal alien amnesty passed, I hope everyone is ready to learn Spanish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. LIBBY says:

    This was a stupid thing to say. They are living in AMERICA not traveling. They need to learn English and they are taking a job away from a AMERICAN citizen so I don't really care what these people say, speak English or get out!

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