Without any sense of irony a branch of Domino’s pizza is insisting that all staff speak English, making it a disciplinary offence if they are caught speaking their native language.
We know that the branch of the take away is doing this after Stuart Horton, a delivery driver for the Ashton branch of Domino’s Pizza in Preston and five-year-veteran of the pizza makers, quit over a poster demanding staff speak English.
He told the Lancashire Evening Post that the majority of the 15 staff at the branch was not English and some had been offended by a sign which read:
“All staff whilst you are working at this store you must speak in English. This is for ease of communication, safety and due to some complaints from staff at other stores. Anybody ignoring this could find disciplinary procedures followed, as it could be seen as a form of workplace bullying/harassment.”
The whistle blower also said: He said: “The notice was on there for about a week. It was long enough to strike fear among people.
“It shocked me and angered me. I’m aware of the health and safety act and having to speak English doesn’t feature in any law.
“The manager took the staff on in the first place knowing full well their native tongues are from different regions and they are trying to learn English.
“Some of them have a basic grasp of English but it isn’t a problem and there isn’t a communication barrier. Everybody speaks English if talking to customers or answering the phone.
“I don’t feel comfortable in that work environment. I’m not being part of an organisation that adopts this stance.”
What should Domino’s have done? How about offering English to the workers who were struggling to speak it? Surely if it was necessary to speak English for health and safety reasons (and with hot pizza ovens and sharp pizza cutters all around you can understand this!) they should do more than put up a notice… in English!
Actually, that isn’t just the opinion of the VICI Language Academy, but also the Health and Safety Executive, who require employers like Domino’s to, among other things:
- Consider the needs of workers who may not speak English well, if at all, and whether you need translation services;
- Make sure workers have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely and consider how to ensure it is acted upon;
So the guy who quit and brought this to growing media attention was right, there is no requirement to speak English, but there is a requirement to make sure that employees who might not speak English do understand rules and health and safety requirements.
Here at the VICI Language Academy we regularly work with businesses that have teams who may not speak English particularly well and they recognise their responsibility to offer to teach English so everyone can communicate effectively and understand health and safety rules.
If you want to make sure important messages are not lost in translation, whether you are making pizza, building houses or stacking shelves, give us a call today and we can ensure you are soon speaking a common language wherever your staff originate from.