Conflict at work, ethnicity maybe involved

Huntn

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My Grandson has been living with us in Houston for the last 6 months. He’s 18, of Norwegian descent, white as white can be and found himself a job at local fast food joint. He recently got his high school degree (GED) and is earning money for his continued education.

At work he generally gets along with everyone at work including many Hispanics. What he has experienced is that near the end of his shift, a couple of older Hispanic ladies arrive to start their shift, and they have been hostile to him, since he first met them. He does not speak Spanish, but they hello in Spanish to everyone except him, buenas dias!

And they talk about him and complain about him among themselves regularly in Spanish. He acts as a cook, he does things like clean his grill during his shift and restock his station frequently, yet invariably as soon as these ladies arrive they start talking about him in Spanish, in a derisive tone, laughing, and demand that he clean his station even if it does not need it, but what they do is tell the Hispanic supervisor in Spanish, and then the Supervisor who tells him. He hears the word gringo a lot during these periods. Apparently these ladies have a reputation. Other supervisors have acknowledged this.

Part of the problem I that these 2 Hispanic employees are using Spanish as a weapon to discriminate against our Grandson, my appraisel. Instead of voicing whatever complaints that have in English, it is being conducted in such a mander he has no idea what is being said about him, but he is smart enough to recognize hostility directed at him.

I looked up English Speaking Rules at the Federal Govt and found something which sounds like a guideline but not a law:

A workplace English-only rule that is applied only at certain times may be adopted only under very limited circumstances that are justified by business necessity. 29 C.F.R. § 1606.7(b) Such a rule must be narrowly tailored to address the business necessity. Situations in which business necessity would justify an English-only rule include:
  • For communications with customers, coworkers, or supervisors who only speak English
We just became aware of this, we are going to sit down with our Granson and discuss a plan of action. We may approach the general manager who is a Hispanic woman to discuss it. Depending on how that goes, I may go over her head to Corporate, and I will be consulting with my lawyer, with the recognition any action in an “at will” State might end up getting him fired, unless it can be shown that a Federal or State discrimination law is being violated.

Thoughts?
 
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My Grandson has been living with us in Houston for the last 6 months. He’s 18, of Norwegian descent, white as white can be and found himself a job at local fast food joint. He recently got his high school degree (GED) and is earning money for his continued education.

At work he generally gets along with everyone at work including many Hispanics. What he has experienced is that near the end of his shift, a couple of older Hispanic ladies arrive to start their shift, and they have been hostile to him, since he first met them. He does not speak Spanish, but they hello in Spanish to everyone except him, buenas dias!

And they talk about him and complain about him among themselves regularly in Spanish. He acts as a cook, he does things like clean his grill during his shift and restock his station frequently, yet invariably as soon as these ladies arrive they start talking about him in Spanish, in a derisive tone, laughing, and demand that he clean his station even if it does not need it, but what they do is tell the Hispanic supervisor in Spanish, and then the Supervisor who tells him. He hears the word gringo a lot during these periods. Apparently these ladies have a reputation. Other supervisors have acknowledged this.

Part of the problem I that these 2 Hispanic employees are using Spanish as a weapon to discriminate against our Grandson, my appraisel. Instead of voicing whatever complaints that have in English, it is being conducted in such a mander he has no idea what is being said about him, but he is smart enough to recognize hostility directed at him.

I looked up English Speaking Rules at the Federal Govt and found something which sounds like a guideline but not a law:

A workplace English-only rule that is applied only at certain times may be adopted only under very limited circumstances that are justified by business necessity. 29 C.F.R. § 1606.7(b) Such a rule must be narrowly tailored to address the business necessity. Situations in which business necessity would justify an English-only rule include:
  • For communications with customers, coworkers, or supervisors who only speak English
We just became aware of this, we are going to sit down with our Granson and discuss a plan of action. We may approach the general manager who is a Hispanic woman to discuss it. Depending on how that goes, I may go over her head to Corporate, and I will be consulting with my lawyer, with the recognition any action in an “at will” State might end up getting him fired, unless it can be shown that a Federal or State discrimination law is being violated.

Thoughts?
We are humans, and we tend to discriminate against out-of-group people. Can he just record when he thinks they are talking about him, then get it translated? Calling people out very gently helps sometimes. Something along the lines as "you shouldn't assume I don't understand Spanish" backed up by eye contact so the person knows this is specifically addressed to them. They will either feel ashamed and do it while he cannot hear (or stop it), OR they'll continue confirming malice. Then you know where they stand and can formulate your plans accordingly.

I'll also add that like many of us, I've been in situations where people spoke Spanish around me assuming I don't understand (I don't really, but it isn't that different from English). It's generally rude. I only speak my native language when others who don't speak it aren't around because otherwise it's exclusive and people would automatically assume I'm talking about them. And if I do speak it with a third party present, I make an attempt to translate so others can be involved in the discussion if they are interested. But again, if others do it, deep eye contact the moment I think they talk about me and a response of silence confirms suspicions like this.
 
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Joe

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I don't think it's discrimination. I think it's more like 2 catty women being bullies. Like any bully, they are going to keep doing it if you allow them to do it. The problem is the language barrier. He doesn't know what they are saying until they tell the supervisor who then tells him. But why are they telling the supervisor what to do?

Have a conversation with the general manager. If that doesn't change anything, then go to corporate like you stated.

He needs to not let them bully him. I'm not saying start a fight, but maybe he needs to let them know he's not taking their shit. Most of the time when you punch a bully back in the mouth they leave you alone.
 

thekev

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People who use their native languages in a passive aggressive manner like that are shitheads. Seeing as jobs of that type are effectively interchangeable, he would be better off finding a different one if it's sufficiently easy to do so.
 

Alli

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There is no such thing as reverse discrimination. It’s not real. That term implies only one group of people can be discriminated against, and that is certainly not true. And if it were, for it to be reverse, only the group being discriminated against could then exhibit reverse discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.

Bitches be bitches. Some people need new people to prove themselves and will be harsh at first. It’s not discriminatory, it’s just good old fashion mean.
 
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Huntn

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I don't think it's discrimination. I think it's more like 2 catty women being bullies. Like any bully, they are going to keep doing it if you allow them to do it. The problem is the language barrier. He doesn't know what they are saying until they tell the supervisor who then tells him. But why are they telling the supervisor what to do?

Have a conversation with the general manager. If that doesn't change anything, then go to corporate like you stated.

He needs to not let them bully him. I'm not saying start a fight, but maybe he needs to let them know he's not taking their shit. Most of the time when you punch a bully back in the mouth they leave you alone.
They can’t order him to do anything, so they tell the on duty manager also Hispanic they want him to clean the filthy grill or something like (in Spanish) before he leaves, (it’s not filthy according to our Grandson) and instead of the manager telling them to do their job, he tells our Granson to do it although it was the end of his shift, and he had already cleaned it an hour prior and this is the early morning before drive through traffic picks up. He does not have a car yet, so I drive him and pick him up and have waited an extra 30 min past his end of shift time to do a list of things they should be doing as part of their job descriptions.

Today he had clocked off while the old bitches were complaining loudly in Spanish, and the assist-manager rushed out and told him to clean the stove before he left. Our GS told him it was the end of his shift and he had clocked off, and sorry, but no. The guy said he would write him up, and our grandson told him, if I’m off the clock, you don’t have jurisdiction over me. Then the guy said clock back on, and our GS said nope and walked out, he had just worked 10pm- 6am. I’m waiting for the lawyer to get back with me and yes, our GS could end up getting fired. But when he is caught before he clocks out, he does do what the assist manger asks him to do.
Update: one of these ladies got fired recently.
 
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Joe

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They can’t order him to do anything, so they tell the on duty manager also Hispanic they want him to clean the filthy grill or something like (in Spanish) before he leaves, (it’s not filthy according to our Grandson) and instead of the manager telling them to do their job, he tells our Granson to do it although it is the end of his shift. He does not have a car yet, so I drive him and pick him up and have waited an extra 30 min past his end of shift time to do a list of things they should be doing as part of their job descriptions.

Today he had clocked off while the old bitches were complaining loudly in Spanish, and the assist-manager rushed out and told him to clean the stove before he left. Our GS told him it was the end of his shift and he had clocked off, and sorry, but no. The guy said he would write him up, and our grandson told him, if I’m off the clock, you don’t have jurisdiction over me. Then the guy said clock back on, and our GS said nope and walked out, he had just worked 10pm- 6am.

It sounds like a crappy place to work with crappy leadership. I worked at a grocery store (heb) all 4 years of college. Loved it. He may be better off finding something besides fast food. Like a cashier at a grocery store.
 
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They can’t order him to do anything, so they tell the on duty manager also Hispanic they want him to clean the filthy grill or something like (in Spanish) before he leaves, (it’s not filthy according to our Grandson) and instead of the manager telling them to do their job, he tells our Granson to do it although it was the end of his shift, and he had already cleaned it an hour prior and this is the early morning before drive through traffic picks up. He does not have a car yet, so I drive him and pick him up and have waited an extra 30 min past his end of shift time to do a list of things they should be doing as part of their job descriptions.

Today he had clocked off while the old bitches were complaining loudly in Spanish, and the assist-manager rushed out and told him to clean the stove before he left. Our GS told him it was the end of his shift and he had clocked off, and sorry, but no. The guy said he would write him up, and our grandson told him, if I’m off the clock, you don’t have jurisdiction over me. Then the guy said clock back on, and our GS said nope and walked out, he had just worked 10pm- 6am. I’m waiting for the lawyer to get back with me and yes, our GS could end up getting fired. But when he is caught before he clocks out, he does do what the assist manger asks him to do.
Update: one of these ladies got fired recently.
As @JagRunner says, it doesn't sound like it's worth the effort. Litigation doesn't change the culture of a workplace, it only alters its manifestations.
 
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Huntn

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Based on the heat I got in the thread over there, and party due to your (@Alli) comments, I changed the title here also, while noting Svanstrom got himself suspended. I can’t imagine why... ;) I hope you guys don’t think I am a bigot or a Karen. Just trying to help my grandson out, he’s a good kid, and he is the one taking steps at work to address the situation with our advice.

There is no such thing as reverse discrimination. It’s not real. That term implies only one group of people can be discriminated against, and that is certainly not true. And if it were, for it to be reverse, only the group being discriminated against could then exhibit reverse discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.

Bitches be bitches. Some people need new people to prove themselves and will be harsh at first. It’s not discriminatory, it’s just good old fashion mean.
Reverse discrimination has been defined, and granted in most cases it is coming from whites who feel they are being discriminated against with things like Affirmative Action, which I support the latter, so in hindsight, it may not be a good term to use In a thread like this. I‘ve requested a better thread title. :)
How about “discrimination at work, ethninticity maybe involved?“
 
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Alli

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while noting Svanstrom got himself suspended. I can’t imagine why..
Oh no! That’s a shame, cause I quite like him.
How about “discrimination at work, ethninticity maybe involved?“
Much better. I still think it’s just bitchy old ladies being bitchy old ladies.
 

Thomas Veil

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I hope you guys don’t think I am a bigot or a Karen. Just trying to help my grandson out...
No. But I do agree that as crappy as this behavior is, fighting back for a low-wage job just isn’t worth it. Tell him to learn one little Spanish phrase, get another job and then (and only then) tell them vete a la mierda (go fuck yourself).
 
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Huntn

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No. But I do agree that as crappy as this behavior is, fighting back for a low-wage job just isn’t worth it. Tell him to learn one little Spanish phrase, get another job and then (and only then) tell them vete a la mierda (go fuck yourself).
Ideally it gets resolved, at worst, he goes looking for another job. I mentioned legal advice, but I don’t see any lawsuits realistically.
 

Apple fanboy

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Having a lawsuit or getting fired isn’t going to look good on his CV. My advice is find another job. I’ve done lots of rubbish jobs in my time (well I did leave school at 15) and have never worked in a fast food place. Think I’d take stacking shelves over that any day.
Anyway good luck to him.
 
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Huntn

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Having a lawsuit or getting fired isn’t going to look good on his CV. My advice is find another job. I’ve done lots of rubbish jobs in my time (well I did leave school at 15) and have never worked in a fast food place. Think I’d take stacking shelves over that any day.
Anyway good luck to him.
Thanks. :) Things seem to have gotten better at work. He’s been talking with the various managers.

There will be no lawsuit as far as I am anticipating, even if he gets fired. For perspective, getting fired, in an “at will” State, where employees work at the will of the employer, this can easily happen. But in the US there are federal laws that cover both discrimination and retaliatory firing based on lodging a complaint, but without those factors, and no contract, firig is as simple as your services are no longer needed.
 

DT

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I'd kind of echo @Apple fanboy's take.

I mean, I don't want to be dismissive of __any__ employment opportunity (especially in these times ...), but this seems like one of those "Pick your battles" sort of scenarios, for what I assume is a job he's qualified to do in many other businesses - and at this age, this is just one of dozens of jobs he'll probably have.
 
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Summary of the Grandson’s Adventure in Fast Food Employment, Texas Style.
He learned some lessons at least at Whataburger:
  • Minorities can be just as prejudiced as anyone (the two harassing him, both got fired).
  • Do as I say, not as I do is a common standard.
  • Corporate kitchen rules, it’s tough when you are the only one following them.
  • Inconsistent standards are expected by Managers (don’t under estimate the brown nose mechanic).
  • Managers can be incompetent leaders. (How the hell did they become managers?)
  • Texas at the bottom rung, pays low wages. (Minnesota pays 1/3-1/2 more. Hell, 20 years ago our son was making $12 an hour working part time while still in high school in Minn.)
This was his third job in fast food and vows, never again. Now that he has had his fill of Texas and time to mature, we driove him back to Minnesota about a month ago ( our latest road trip). He’s working for UPS starting wage $22 an hour,

I find it completely amazing that restaurant workers are allowed to be only paid $2 per hour in comparison! Tips are not enough of an excuse Imo. And now all the fast food location solicit tips for handing you food over a counter. :unsure: How about pay your employees decent wages to start with?
 
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rdrr

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I think your Grandparenthood is kicking in, and if I was in the situation I'd probably be protective of him as well. Yeah it sucks that someone is picking on him, but you know what? There are always going to be people who don't like you for whatever reason. Some will undermine you and even try to hurt your reputation (both professionally or personally). It's a good lesson for him, and a way in which you can guide him. If it gets unmanageable, in other words, just causing him too much stress and anxiety, then he should quit and tell his supervisor the reason is that it is too hostile there. There are a ton of jobs out there to be had, and maybe ones that pay a higher wage.
 

Joe

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Summary of the Grandson’s Adventure in Fast Food Employment, Texas Style.
He learned some lessons at least at Whataburger:
  • Minorities can be just as prejudiced as anyone (the two harassing him, both got fired).
  • Do as I say, not as I do is a common standard.
  • Corporate kitchen rules, it’s tough when you are the only one following them.
  • Inconsistent standards are expected by Managers (don’t under estimate the brown nose mechanic).
  • Managers can be incompetent leaders. (How the hell did they become managers?)
  • Texas at the bottom rung, pays low wages. (Minnesota pays 1/3-1/2 more. Hell, 20 years ago our son was making $12 an hour working part time while still in high school in Minn.)
This was his third job in fast food and vows, never again. Now that he has had his fill of Texas and time to mature, we driove him back to Minnesota about a month ago ( our latest road trip). He’s working for UPS starting wage $22 an hour,

I find it completely amazing that restaurant workers are allowed to be only paid $2 per hour in comparison! Tips are not enough of an excuse Imo. And now all the fast food location solicit tips for handing you food over a counter. :unsure: How about pay your employees decent wages to start with?

Yeah, he should have applied to HEB instead of Whataburger or any fast food joint.
 
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