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English is our official language. DEAL WITH IT!

Posted by cann0nba11 on November 26, 2007

A Connecticut sheet metal factory is in the midst of a lawsuit filed by former employees that are offended by the private company’s enforcement of an English-Only language policy. (source) These legal immigrants say the rule amounts to discrimination, and “it’s offensive to people who speak Spanish. Andres Moran is the lead plaintiff in the case. He speaks fluent English.

According to the EEOC, “If an employer believes the English-only rule is critical for business purposes, employees have to be told when they must speak English and the consequences for violating the rule.” GCI did this. Its executives also told the workers that they could institute any policy they liked because GCI is a private company. (Reality check #1: If you don’t like the policies of your employer, find another employer. This is America buddy, and private companies can do what they want. If I don’t like the way you looked at me I can kick you out of my store. Ever heard of “no shirt no service?” It makes me wonder when the ACLU will start suing on behalf of shirtless surfers.)

Moran also said: “I felt like I was a slave, basically. I felt discriminated against, violated. I didn’t know what to do.” A slave? Violated? Was someone holding a knife to your throat? Was your life in danger? Give me a friggin’ break. You were being asked to speak English, you were not being forced to pick cotton under the shadow of a whip-bearing foreman.

Let me spin this around for a moment. What happens if a foreman or manager at GCI recognizes a serious hazard and only has moments to execute commands that may save the lives of his employees? What if a crazed former employee entered the plant and all employees needed to take cover? What if a train wreck caused a poisonous gas spill and the building had to be evacuated immediately? If a non-English speaking employee died because he didn’t understand the safety commands you can bet your last Peso that there would be a long line of lawyers and organizations ready with litigation on behalf of the now dead non-English speaker.

But the crux of the story is here: Moran said that although the rest of the GCI employees “kind of shut their mouth…” he and the other four plaintiffs continued to use Spanish with their coworkers. Eventually his machismo caused him to be transferred from being a packager to the more strenuous and less desirable job of hanger. (Reality check #2: it sounds to me like Moran was moved because he was not following company policy. We all face this possibility at work: do what you are supposed to do or face the consequences. Try mouthing off to a senior officer in the military and see where that lands you.)

Was he fired after complaining about the policy? No. He was reassigned. Yet, Moran persisted in speaking Spanish and then asked for his old job back. (This isn’t fair. I don’t wanna lift sheet metal… I wanna pack sheet metal. The other kids are packing sheet metal, why do I have to lift sheet metal?) Methinks the manager told him to take a hike. Moran was laid off. His tenure with the company by this time was a whole nine months. Smooth move Ex-lax.

Let’s see here. Metal factory. Welding, cutting, lasers, stamping. Something tells me that GCI is not a white collar environment where Monday morning coffee talk consists of golf stories and weekend computer folly. My gut tells me that this is a blue collar, labor intensive, “proud to be an American” factory environment full of hard working folks. These are the type of people that built America. How the heck do you think they would respond to some new guy expressing his objection to an English-only policy? Puh-lease. Yet Moran and the other plaintiffs are suing for $100,000 each. At $9/hour that works out to be more than 5 1/2 years of employment (before taxes).

What country are we in? What language is our constitution written in? America is a melting pot full of immigrants from every corner of the world. Many of these immigrants come here to pursue the American Dream, to become a proud member of the finest nation on the planet. I am offended by people who come here, live off of our plentiful natural and man-made resources and generosity and then have the gall to disrespect our nation by not learning our common language. (Reality check #3: For any La Raza types that may be reading this accuse me of being a racist or stifling their culture, let me be crystal clear: I am not suggesting that anyone give up their native language. I am asking that those who wish to live and work here simply learn our language. I love Mexican food, Irish beer, German sausage, Japanese sushi and Russian vodka. I just want the damned drive through dude to be able to understand and accurately enter my friggin’ order. Capiche?)

I am also offended by anyone that fails to respect authority. This isn’t China: having a job is a privilege, not a right. And you have lots of rights in America, but one of them is not the right not to be offended. If you can’t find it within yourself to do what it takes to remain employed, I have no pity for you.

Perhaps the plaintiffs should make that grueling 40-minute drive from Deep River to New Haven,. After all, New Haven is a sanctuary city; they might find someone that actually cares about their feelings on this issue. Mr. Moran, you are a moron.

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