English-Only Practice Barred

July 31, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge has signed a consent decree against an employer who allegedly refused to allow workers to speak Spanish on the job.

US District Judge Joan B. Gottschall for the Northern the District of Illinois signed the $240,000 consent decree, resolving an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of six employees who worked at the Regis Hair Stylist Salon in North Riverside Park Mall near Chicago.

Two of the six plaintiffs intervened in the EEOC lawsuit and were represented by the Legal Assistance Foundation of  Metropolitan Chicago, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

According to the lawsuit, Hispanics were harassed and fired because of their national origin, assigned janitorial duties and forbidden to speak Spanish.

The “speak English only” policy was also enforced when Hispanic stylists were serving Spanish-speaking clients, the EEOC alleged.

The consent decree requires all Illinois salons of Minneapolis-based Regis to:

  • distribute a national origin discrimination policy in both English and Spanish to all employees
  • to train managers on avoiding discrimination and
  • to create a training video for employees on their right to be free from discrimination.

The case is EEOC et al. v. Regis Corp., No. 99 C 8270.