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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