Macy’s has rescinded a manager’s ad hoc English-only rule after six employees at the company’s Southdale Mall store in Edina complained to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Minnesota. The workers said a manager allegedly threatened to fire them if they spoke “even one word” of Somali on the job.
According to CAIR, the employees work in the basement of Macy’s sorting merchandise and have little contact with customers. All are fluent in English, however, and speak English on the sales floor. Some have even been called on to communicate with Somali-speaking customers, CAIR said.
Following an investigation, Macy’s told the workers that the manager was incorrect, and that Macy’s does not have an English-only policy.
CAIR praised the company for responding promptly and professionally.
Final note: This is an example of exactly how to handle an employee complaint. The retailer investigated, acknowledged it was wrong and took immediate action. That’s good PR and will encourage employees to come forward before conditions deteriorate and a lawsuit becomes inevitable.
CAIR offers a helpful booklet, An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices, at www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/employment_guide.pdf.