Demand Forever 21 Stop Using Discriminatory English Only Policy

Target: Don Won Chang, CEO of Forever 21

Goal: Demand Forever 21 stop following an ‘English Only’ policy and discriminating against employees who have a different native language.

A state civil rights agency recently accused a Forever 21 location in San Francisco of illegally requiring its employees to speak only English when working. California law, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, forbids “English Only” work policies unless a company can prove that it is needed to run their business properly. Forever 21 is denying these claims.

The suit states that this has been a policy at this location since May of 2015. The rule included both conversations between employees and customers and conversations just between employees.

Allegedly, when three Spanish-speaking employees complained about this policy, their hours at work were reduced and their managers started acting more hostile and negative toward them. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages for these employees and an order to stop the policy.

Forever 21 should be aware of the fact that it is actually a major asset to have employees who speak multiple different languages — especially Spanish. A study done by the Instituto Cervantes research center estimated that there are 52.6 million people who speak Spanish living in the United States. That makes the United States the country with the second-highest population of Spanish speakers, behind only Mexico (Spain itself only has 46 million Spanish speakers). In California specifically, they found that 38 percent of the population speaks Spanish.

A Forever 21 spokesperson would not comment on this lawsuit specifically but stated that “Forever 21 is committed to diversity and inclusion.” Sign this petition to demand this Forever 21 location abandon their alleged “English Only” policy and stop discriminating against employees who speak Spanish at work.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Don Won Chang,

As the CEO of Forever 21, you should feel obligated to acknowledge and fix the wrongdoings allegedly done at one of your San Francisco locations. Implementing an “English Only” policy is not only discriminatory, but is also against the law.

California law forbids these types of work policies unless it can be proven that speaking only English is necessary to properly run the business. In California, where 38 percent of people speak Spanish, that cannot be the case. In fact, if anything, it is a major asset to have employees who speak both English and Spanish.

Employees who speak Spanish at this location allegedly had their hours cut and have been treated unfairly by their managers. We encourage you to fix this situation by preventing your company from implementing any and all blatantly discriminatory workplace policies.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Raysonho

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5 Comments

  1. What a stupid petition. Of course in American employees should be able to speak English. How is that discriminatory. You live here, you work here. You should know the language.

  2. What kind of silly state of mind one has to be in to waste people’s time with this kind of idiocy?? Of course that while at work, specially in contact with the general public, every single employee must speak the local language which in this case just happens to be English! This is completely ridiculous! Petitions are meant to be a serious way to make wrongs into rights, promote fairness… please go do some growing up before throwing your silly toys out of the pram.

  3. ck and Maria – If you disagree with a petition you don’t have to be so cruel and insulting.

  4. This is the dumbest petition that I have ever seen!!!!If they can’t speak English then they need to be forced to go back to their own country!It is essential that the person speaks the relevant language otherwise they cannot communicate.
    REMOVE THIS STUPID PETITION IMMEDIATELY.

    • This was written on the basis that a large number of people in California speak Spanish – and that’s where this incident happened. So it is relevant for them to speak Spanish there when needed. English may be the primary language used in the U.S. but it is not set as the “official one”. I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to speak it at work if it helps a customer. And they should definitely be allowed to speak it while on break.

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