Sign At Community Center Sparks Outrage (Photos)


A controversial sign at a Volusia County, Florida, community center sparked outrage among residents.

The sign, posted at the Deltona Community Center, stated a policy that required all who work at the center -- in particular, the kitchen -- to speak English.

"Our business and operational requirements necessitate the use of English-only language in all work areas," the sign read. Community center volunteer Roger Rose said he agreed with the policy.

"You can’t have two or three different languages speaking in that kitchen," Rose told WFTV. "Now [there’s] one language in the kitchen. It’s a work area.”

City commissioner Nancy Schleicher disagreed.

"I, as an English-speaking person, took offense at it, and I’m sure some of our residents did," she said. "So it could not stay.”

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The most recent U.S. census showed that more than 30 percent of Deltona is Hispanic.

"It comes off the wrong way, especially when most of the people who are in the room are just Hispanics," resident Maritza Avila-Vazquez told WFTV. "If I have people around me who are Hispanics, I’ll probably end up talking to them in Spanish, but it doesn’t mean that I’m disrespecting anyone.”

Officials at the center, which is run by the Council on Aging, said the sign was a misunderstanding, and that they plan to change their management approach in the kitchen. The sign was later taken down.

According to a 2012 report from Forbes, English-only policies in the workplace are sometimes justifiable, depending on the situation.

The report stated that Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines allow for an English-only rule with communication is with "customers, co-workers or supervisors who only speak English," as well as in "emergencies or other situations in which workers must speak a common language to promote safety."

An English-only policy should not be applied to "casual conversations between employees when they are not performing job duties," Forbes reported.

Sources: WFTV, Forbes / Photo credit: Screenshot/WFTV, City of Deltona

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