If you've ever visited the Union Square location of low-priced fashion retailer Forever 21, you've likely seen crowds of tourists from around the globe, chatting in their native languages as they browse the racks.
But according to the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFHE), the Union Square Forever 21 didn't extend the same courtesy to its employees—even when they were on break.
This week, the Chronicle reported on a suit filed by DFHE in San Francisco Superior Court. It alleges that the Union Square Forever 21 has been conducting discriminatory hiring practices since 2015, by requiring employees to speak English at all times within the store, even while speaking to other employees or on rest breaks.
Three Spanish-speaking employees of the store—two cashiers and one maintenance associate—allege that when they complained about the English-only policy, managers treated them with hostility, reducing their work hours.
They filed a complaint with DFHE, which is now seeking damages and a change in store policy on their behalf.
California law forbids English-only workplace rules, unless a company can show they are necessary to run a business.
Forever 21 denied the claims, telling the Chronicle that it's "committed to diversity and inclusion in all of our stores, and does not have any policies with regards to the language spoken in our stores."
You can view the full complaint here.
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