Ban on work discussions in Welsh is "probably unlawful


Staff at Thomas Cook in Bangor, Gwynedd have, according to a recent report on the Times website, been told that they should use only English to discuss work matters. Such a rule potentially falls foul of discrimination legislation, and the Commission for Racial Equality in Wales is apparently taking legal advice. The Commission’s director Chris Myant said on BBC Radio Wales that Thomas Cook's policy in his view "quite probably" breached the Race Relations Act. Thomas Cook has made a statement, as follows: "Thomas Cook can confirm that its staff have not been banned from speaking Welsh - or any other language - in its network of UK stores... The company has always requested that its staff, regardless of any geographical location, speak English to other staff members when discussing work-related matters in the work place... This ensures clear communication at all times and is respectful to team members who do not speak other languages…. Thomas Cook employs staff from many cultural backgrounds, therefore the company appreciates its staff may want to talk to colleagues in other languages for anything that is not business related." The branch in question is now displaying a sign, in both English and Welsh, which says “despite press reports you are very welcome to do your business here through the medium of Welsh."

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