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to think that in the Uk you should speak English at work?

(131 Posts)
Wrongornot Thu 06-Nov-14 18:37:07

I can't make up my mind?

My employer have banned the use of any language other that English being spoken during working hours?

Are they being unreasonable?

www.scotsman.com/news/odd/lidl-polish-workers-banned-from-speaking-own-language-1-3596137

(Regular but name changed)

ghostyslovesheep Thu 06-Nov-14 18:39:25

when I worked in Germany I spoke English with my English/American/Aussie work mates

I spoke German to all guests and German staff

I'm not seeing the issue

SauvignonBlanche Thu 06-Nov-14 18:41:45

So, you believe that Welsh should be banned in Wales? hmm

Shallishanti Thu 06-Nov-14 18:44:18

they are mad
not sure if it is legal to prevent people speaking in their own language in breaktime
If I was a Polish shopper I would be organising a boycott

BeenThereGotTheTShirt Thu 06-Nov-14 18:46:24

Imagine if everyone in Spain was told not to speak English to customers!!!

MozzchopsThirty Thu 06-Nov-14 18:48:01

I worked in an office in Cardiff where the other 3 staff spoke Welsh
Which they did all day despite knowing I couldn't understand and them all speaking perfect English

I just think that's fucking rude!!

I don't expect people to speak a particular language though, I used to work with a doctor and anaesthetist who would ask the nurses if they minded them speaking in their mother tongue as they didn't get to do it often.
Totally acceptable, they weren't excluding anyone.
I love hearing different languages and would love to speak Arabic

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 18:48:20

Absolutely ridiculous and hopefully illegal.

I'm amazed that any management at lidl (or anywhere) would think that was a reasonable rule to impose.

FrauHelga Thu 06-Nov-14 18:49:10

What about Scots or Irish Gaelic as well as Welsh? Or Cornish?

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 18:49:54

Interesting that this happened in Scotland.

Would they ban Gaelic? Or English?

KingJoffreysBloodshotEye Thu 06-Nov-14 18:51:30

I'm on the fence.

I've worked in nursing homes where staff have chatted in their own language over an English speaking resident, not including the resident in their conversation at all.

I think it's really rude and disrespectful.

JeanneDeMontbaston Thu 06-Nov-14 18:52:28

I find that odd, and sad.

I can see you might want to ask workers not to speak a language most customers don't understand in front of them. But why mind otherwise?

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Thu 06-Nov-14 18:52:44

We've had this exact same thread before.

Wrongornot Thu 06-Nov-14 18:53:59

Yes, it is the not speaking of English that is banned. No Welsh, Gaelic etc, no specific mention of Polish.

I work in their Head Office but I believe that there have been complains of exclusion etc in stores when others are speaking in another language which is why the rule has been brought in.

Wrongornot Thu 06-Nov-14 18:54:54

I searched and couldn't find a thread - can you link?

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 18:55:02

KingJoffrey I think that's slightly different.

The problem there is that they aren't communicating with the person - two nurses carrying on a personal conversation over the head of a patient would be equally as rude.

The fact that they're doing it in a foreign language is a red herring

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 18:56:52

I'm non uk and would find it ridiculous if I had an English friend at work and we had to chat in another language in our break.

It's so weird, it's just not enforceable.

Trapper Thu 06-Nov-14 18:58:41

Many companies have similar policies. Our Belgrade office team have to speak English as it is the default business language for the teams they interact with.

ArcheryAnnie Thu 06-Nov-14 18:59:14

At work it's fine between people of the same language, whenever they like, when it doesn't affect the job they do. It's not fine if they are speaking over the heads of a vulnerable third party, in a work situation, who can't understand them. (eg in the nurse/patient example above)

In the Lidl case, where the staff are specifically banned from speaking amongst themselves in their own time, or from helping Polish-speaking customers, the ban is both ridiculous and unfair.

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 19:02:49

Trapper the point is that they are being banned from speaking their own language in their breaks.

Does your company insist that colleagues use English in their breaks too?

It's fairly normal to have a required "operating language" at work.

Pico2 Thu 06-Nov-14 19:03:23

That is odd. Talking in your native language on breaks seems reasonable. Are Lidl staff even paid for breaks? Speaking to customers on their preferred language is a good idea if you can.

There are times when it isn't a good idea to speak in a language other than the company one - when it excludes people or makes them think that you may be talking about them. Also you need to be aware that others may speak your language, so it's best not to assume that you can speak freely without risk of being understood. I've definitely seen that happen and it is at best embarrassing.

theposterformallyknownas Thu 06-Nov-14 19:05:45

I think that for H&S reasons all employees should be able to speak English, maybe this isn't the same thing.
My dsis works in an environment where you need to take instruction quickly to avoid a possible fatality, big heavy white goods stacked to ceiling, folk lift trucks etc.
The accidents have trebled since Polish and Bulgarian employees have arrived.
If I went for a job without basic English and maths I would be refused and the job centre would send me for the free English courses run by local colleges.
Why the hell aren't the Polish and Bulgarians or any other nationality coming to work in this country being supported in this way.
My dsis is at her wits end having to manage people who don't understand the language.

socially Thu 06-Nov-14 19:08:05

theposter there is no suggestion whatsoever that the workers can't speak English.

Simply that their preferred method of communication DURING BREAKS is polish, and this has been banned.

WooWooOwl Thu 06-Nov-14 19:08:09

If people are being excluded from being able to have normal working relationships because of a language barrier, then I can see why an employer would want to put a stop to that.

It makes no difference if two people working alone in a tiny off licence or something are talking to each other in a different language, but when it means that colleagues are excluded from conversation and are made to feel awkward because they don't know what's being said, then it's rude and would create an unfriendly work environment.

Perhaps a better rule would be that all employees must be courteous and considerate to each other, which includes not talking around them in a language they can't understand.

raltheraffe Thu 06-Nov-14 19:11:00

I run a contracting firm and have one customer where approximately 90% of the staff are Asian. They all speak to each other in Urdu which does not bother me one bit. However I do not like it when they discuss me in Urdu like I am not in the room as I cannot understand what is being said about me and I find that a bit impolite.

FannyFifer Thu 06-Nov-14 19:11:18

This is local to me & it's shocking.

Of course Polish staff should speak to Polish customers in their own language.

Kirkcaldy has a large Polish community who are really well integrated into local community.

I would say they spend a fortune in Lidl so prob I'll advised by the company.

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