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CAIR-MN: Muslims Workers’ ‘English Only’ Complaint Resolved

(ST. PAUL, MN, 9/29/08) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today announced the successful resolution of complaints by Muslim workers that a Macy’s department store had adopted an “English-only” policy in the workplace.

Following intervention by CAIR-MN and an investigation by the company, it was determined that a low-level manager at Macy’s Southdale Mall location in Edina, Minn., gave incorrect information to the Muslim employees. Macy’s does not have an English-only policy and respects the diversity of its employees and customers.

CAIR-MN had been contacted by six Somali-speaking employees, some of whom have been employed at the store for more than four years, who were told by their manager that a new English-only policy prohibited them from speaking any language other than English during work hours.

A company flier obtained by CAIR-MN announcing that “all associates must speak English while working” confirmed the employees’ allegations that their manager had enforced an English-only policy and threatened them with termination if they violated the policy. Macy’s has clarified thatboth theflier and the actions of the manager do not represent Macy’s policy.

SEE: Macy’s Workers Claim Supervisors Banned Somali Language (Kare11)

SEE ALSO: Macy’s Investigating English-Only Complaint (Star Tribune)

Last week, Macy’s held a meeting with all employees to explain to them that they are allowed to speak other languages with each other, but requested that they speak a common language when communicating with managers and supervisors.

“We applaud Macy’s for its prompt and professional handling of this case,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam. “We encourage all corporations to follow Macy’s example and demonstrate a strong commitment to racial, ethnic and religious diversity.”

Macy’s East and CAIR-MN will meet to discuss diversity training topics and build a proactive ongoing relationship.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam, 651-587-4712, E-Mail:; CAIR-MN Communications Director Kenya McKnight, 612-483-3245, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202 488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:


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