Latvian worker wins racism claim compensation of more than £10,000 after being told to speak English at work when discussing with colleagues from her country

Latvian worker wins racism claim compensation of more than £10,000 after being told to speak English at work when discussing with colleagues from her country



A Latvian worker, Albina Sokolova has won a racism claim after her factory bosses told her she must speak English at work.



Albina Sokolova a worker at fruit and nut supplier, Humdinger Limited, says she was disciplined after she spoke in her native tongue with other Eastern European workers on the factory floor.



She was warned by her superiors she had to speak English to her colleagues even though she didn’t have a strong understanding of the language.


Mrs Sokolova ‘relied upon her daughter’ to translate at home, but was refused a translator during meetings with bosses.



She won her court case after an employment tribunal ruled she was ‘disadvantaged’ by not being able to speak a native language in meetings, adding it was ‘not necessary’ for only English to be spoken, and will now be paid more than £10,000 in compensation.



The tribunal heard Mrs Sokolova had worked for the company for more than ten years, starting as a production operative at the company’s factory in Hull in 2010, shortly after moving to the UK.



In 2015, the company introduced a new ‘language policy’ which stated ‘English was to be spoken in the workplace’ and workers could only speak another language ‘during rest and lunch breaks’.



In a memo to employees, it explained a ‘common language’ would ‘promote effective workplace communication across the business’.



The tribunal heard Mrs Sokolova discussed the policy during a meeting with bosses in February 2017 after a ‘letter of concern’ was issued by a supervisor, in which they ‘asked for improvements’ in her English.



Two and a half years later, Mrs Sokolova requested leave for a ‘dental appointment’ in Latvia which was denied because she had ‘used up her holiday leave’ and ‘could not take unpaid leave’.


She cancelled the appointment and attended work on the day, but was off sick the following day.



Latest Post
Tags