Uncategorized | 6:56 pm | March 11, 2010 | By Zoe Gorman

Atticus repeals English-only policy

In January, Atticus Bookstore and Café on Chapel Street implemented a policy requiring employees to speak English when interacting with customers, but the policy was repealed last week.
In January, Atticus Bookstore and Café on Chapel Street implemented a policy requiring employees to speak English when interacting with customers, but the policy was repealed last week. Photo by Daniel Carvalho.

Atticus Bookstore and Café on Chapel Street last week repealed an employee policy that forbade employees from using foreign languages within earshot of customers, Atticus supervisor Martin Muroz said Wednesday.

The move followed pressure from local community groups such as the New Haven Workers Association, a group of local labor leaders and activists, and city officials such as Ward 15 Alderman Joseph Rodriguez.

“We are happy now,” Munoz said. “They fixed it.”

Until the repeal, Atticus manager Jean Marcel Récapet, a native French speaker, had supported and enforced the policy, which was implemented in January. That month, more than a dozen protestors picketed outside the café, demanding a boycott of the eatery unless the policy was reversed.

Atticus owner Charles Negaro said in a January statement that news reports misinterpreted the policy, which he said was intended to improve customer service; Negaro added that Atticus offers free English lessons to all employees.

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