An employee at the Providence Water Supply Board has sued his supervisor and the City of Providence in federal court, claiming his supervisor attempted to prevent him from speaking Spanish on the job.
In a seven-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court on December 16, Dominican Republic-born Simon Peralta, who has served as a Senior Mechanic for Providence Water since 2017, sued supervisor Antonio Fernandes, for allegedly telling Peralta only English could be spoken at work.
Peralta, represented by attorney Shannah Kurland, sued Fernandes as well as the City of Providence for discrimination based on his race in violation of federal civil rights and employment law.
The complaint alleges several instances in which Peralta says he was discriminated against on the basis of his national origin, and that at the time, neither the Water Board nor the City had any policy or training available to employees concerning English-only rules in the workplace.
The lawsuit goes on to state that in August 2020, the City issued a Non-Discrimination Policy that “described English-Only rules in the absence of a public emergency or legitimate business reason as a subsection of national original discrimination.”