Complaints were filed by six employees in the Desert Sands Unified School District who claim that they were punished and retaliated against because they spoke Spanish at work.
The complaints, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were between December 2014 and January 2015. According the The Desert Sun, they were made by members of the district’s maintenance and operations grounds crew who were reprimanded for speaking Spanish during their breaks.
“They felt discriminated against because it was personal time. They were not working with the public where they had to speak English or when it may have posed a safety hazard,” Michael Harrington, an attorney and spokesman for the group, told the newspaper. “They felt retaliated against.”
The employees state in the complaints that they were not allowed to listen to Spanish-language radio and one of the employees, Hector Vasquez, says that his former supervisor would “yell and scream” at the workers in public.
“I felt that it was racist. He would follow us around. Any little second he would yell and scream,” Vasquez said in Spanish through a translator.
The school district spokeswoman, Marry Perry, insisted the district is looking into the matter, telling The Desert Sun, “The district remains supportive of our staff and will continue to investigate and take whatever corrective action is warranted.”