CBS Denver, May 9, 2013
A group of Hispanic custodians at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver are claiming they are victims of discrimination.
They’ve filed a complaint against the campus operator that could be reviewed by a federal judge.
What started out as a miscommunication over a schedule change for employees working the graveyard shift has become a full investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“Too many things have happened to me there that I don’t even know how to explain it,” said Auraria custodian Bertha Ribota.
Ribota said she was injured at work because she couldn’t read a warning sign that was in English.
“If I could speak English I wouldn’t have the problems that exist,” said Ribota.
Last week 12 custodians from the Auraria Campus filed an EEOC complaint against the Auraria Higher Education Center, which is the organization that maintains the campus for Metro State University of Denver, the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver.
“What is sort of a neutral business practice, that they speak English on campus and it’s an English-only campus has a discriminatory impact on this group of workers,” said attorney Tim Markham.
The complaint accused the campus of purposely leaving employees that only speak Spanish in the dark on the terms and conditions of their employment, changes in their working status, safety and more.