And So It Goes…#608

Manifest Idiocy  ,Part I ) Can an Employer in the UK insist that all employees speak English ? Apparently not.  Manifest Idiocy ,Part II ) Can an Employer in the UK insist that an administrative/supervisory position  is only open to speakers of Polish ? Apparently so.

( I ) Another recent employment tribunal case in which we acted for the respondent demonstrates the complexity which can arise for employers dealing with these issues. The claim of indirect race discrimination was brought by a Portuguese national but was ultimately struck out at a pre-hearing review for having no reasonable prospects of success. In the case P F Franco v Fyffes Group Limited, Mr Franco claimed that some of the line supervisors conducted some of their discussions in Polish and this amounted to the application of a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) which put persons who shared the characteristic of not speaking Polish, including him, at a disadvantage.

The claimant, although not English himself was unhappy that all employees were not required to speak English the whole time.

The Judge had a different view and considered that Fyffes could objectively justify this PCP and found that,

‘.. to allow people who share a mother tongue to communicate in it is generally likely to lead to clearer communication and efficient management, and no sensible employer would try to suggest that two Polish workers should not speak in Polish between themselves. Of course it is quite different when someone who does not speak that language is also party to the conversation.’

As the employer in this case could demonstrate that management reminded Polish speakers to consider the needs of those without the language when they were around, this was considered by the tribunal a proportionate modification of the PCP. As this was a packing/sorting type role in a factory, it did not require excellent English skills.

( II ) Polish Speaking Warehouse Team Leader
Job description

Power Body Nutrition is looking for polish speaking warehouse team leader to cover a maternity leave (9 months initial contract , possibility to extend after) to start as soon as possible .
The responsibilities will include :
-80% of the role consist of warehouse operative duties i.e. picking, packing, replenishment
-Supervising the team,
-Ensuring productivity of your team.
-Communicating with the sales team,
-Checking accuracy of processed orders,
-Control of loading and unloading of vehicles,

Find your next job from the 200,000 available, hire…
As someone born in England of Austrian/Russian heritage whose Mother tongue is German and who was fluent bilingual in English from the age of Five, what I cannot comprehend is why the UK perpetuates and legitimises this vacuous,tortuous,overly-indulgent molly-coddling attitude and approach to Jobsnatchers who elsewhere in the European Union are compelled to learn the language of their host nation before being able to take a job .  There are 2 million unemployed English speakers vis a vis 2 million non-english speakers working despite having no command or only inadequate command of their Hosts language. It really is bollocks.

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