There is, of course, no “national language” in the United States – despite what some may argue. Nonetheless, the popular food chain Chipotle has allegedly implemented an “English only” policy in all its restaurants across the nation – including areas with a predominantly Spanish-speaking clientele and resident base. Now, a former employee of the chain has initiated a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on nation origin, which is a protected class under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. More specifically, the lawsuit asserts that the employee was fired due to her commitment to offering bilingual service to customers at the 45th Street, Manhattan location of the popular restaurant, which served large numbers of Hispanic patrons at this particular spot. Moreover, the plaintiff asserts that she maintained a stellar record of attendance, and was even promoted several times prior to the installation of a new manager – and concurrent policy – that resulted in her termination.
According to the allegations, the plaintiff began her Chipotle tenure as a “counter person” on 45th Street in 2007. Shortly after, she was promoted to the manager of the entire kitchen, followed by a promotion to “Service Manager.” In other words, she was doing well in her position with the company. Also during this time, the plaintiff alleges she committed herself to offering bilingual service to the patrons of this particularly location, many of whom were Spanish-speaking clientele.
Shortly thereafter, a General Manager was appointed to oversee among others, the 45th Street Chipotle location, and implemented an unexpected “English only” policy that mandated all customer service clientele communicated with customers in the English language – and anyone who did not comply would be fired. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was promptly fired – notwithstanding her stellar service record – for offering bilingual communication at the restaurant.
The plaintiff further asserted that her termination was due solely to discriminatory factors, as there was no business necessity, workplace safety or “efficiency” reason for the termination.
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