09/06/2012 08:51 am ET Updated Sep 06, 2012

Johanna Renclawowicz, Norway Hospital Worker, Fired For Speaking Polish

Sometimes getting in trouble at work isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it. Literally.

Hospital worker Johanna Renclawowicz, a mother who emigrated to Norway from Poland with her husband four years ago, was allegedly fired from her job as a cleaner for speaking her native Polish during lunch breaks, The Foreigner reports.

Renclawowicz is now suing the hospital located in Skien, Norway, claiming discrimination, particularly since she says she obeyed her manager’s request to speak Norwegian while on duty, but would occasionally speak Polish with co-workers while on break.

Indeed, her manager even went to far as to hang posters saying “At work we talk NORWEGIAN.” After Renclawowicz pointed out to her manager that speaking her native tongue during unpaid meal breaks was not grounds for firing, according to the Labour Inspectorate, she was told that was "bullshit," The Daily Mail reports.

Of course, this isn’t the first time an employee has claimed they’ve been let go over a language violation. Roughly one in six workers say they have faced discrimination of some sort during their lives, according to a 2009 European Commission report.

In fact, a Portuguese man working in the U.K. was fired from his job as manager at a banana-packing factory for the exact opposite -- not speaking Polish, The Portugal News reports

There have been similar cases stateside as well. A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina sued the school district after the school fired her for violating a strict no-Spanish policy, according to UPI. Likewise, airport worker Jose Lopez sued his employer last year claiming he was fired for speaking Spanish in front of his supervisor twice, ABC 13 reports.

(Hat tip: The Daily Mail)



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