The Whittier Street Health Center in Boston has agreed to a settlement with
Hispanic employees who opposed a policy that urged them to speak English when
greeting patients and at other times on the job, the Boston Globe reports.
The health center agreed to amend its customer-service policy and strike disciplinary
warnings from the personnel files of employees who refused to stop speaking
Spanish to one another.
In settling the dispute, the company denied any wrongdoing. The U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board mediated
The company said the English-first policy at the center of the dispute was
prompted by complaints from patients.
The amended policy states that patients should be greeted in English unless
the client prefers another language. The revised policy reminds workers to keep
personal conversations to a minimum when working where patients are present,
but workers can use languages other than English whenever necessary when no
patients are present, the newspaper reports.