Oklahoma: A driver's license examiner says he was disciplined for speaking Spanish to Hispanic applicants.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat May 3 13:15:38 UTC 2008

Feds probe language flap

by: MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau
5/1/2008  12:00 AM

A driver's license examiner says he was disciplined for speaking
Spanish to Hispanic applicants.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The federal government is investigating a complaint
lodged by a Tulsa-based driver's license examiner who said he was
disciplined for speaking Spanish to Hispanics applying to take
driver's tests. Examiner Henry Stanco said Wednesday that he filed a
complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after
being ordered by his supervisor, Elmer Traylor, to speak only English
in the performance of his job. In a letter dated April 21 from the
federal agency to Stanco, authorities said the case had been assigned
to an investigator for processing.
The Tulsa World obtained a copy of a memo that Stanco received from
Traylor, dated March 26. It stated, "You are to speak English only to
all applicants, this is a direct order not a request."

The memo continued: "Your follow through will be expected; if not you
will be in violation of policy." No specific instances were cited by
his superiors, Stanco said, although he thought they must have
overheard him speaking in Spanish. Stanco's complaint comes at a time
when the Legislature is considering a change in state law to prohibit
the written portion of the state driving test from being offered in
Spanish. The proposed ban is part of Senate Bill 163, sponsored by
Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, which calls for making English the
state's official language. The bill has been approved by the House and
awaits action in the Senate. The change would require a vote of the
people. Terrill was author of legislation last year that is considered
to be possibly the toughest in the nation regarding illegal

Stanco said it has been his practice for several years to speak
Spanish to someone if they needed assistance in filling out the
paperwork to take either the written driving test or the road test. He
said that while administering a test, he did not speak Spanish. The
Department of Public Safety, which is in charge of driver's license
testing, has no written policy prohibiting an employee from speaking
Spanish, DPS spokesman Chris West confirmed. He said employees are not
restricted from communicating with the public in Spanish or any other
language. "Communicating with them in Spanish, that is OK," West said.
Stanco said he was ordered to meet in Oklahoma City with Karen Gentry,
who is in charge of the DPS driver's license division.

He said Gentry "ripped up a copy" of the memo from Traylor forbidding
Stanco's use of Spanish. Then she informed Stanco that he was being
"written up" for improper use of the Internet on a DPS computer.
Stanco said the instances cited by Gentry were not in violation of any
policy and involved authorized Web sites for employees to use in
assisting the public. In one instance, Stanco said, he used the
Oklahoma state government's Web site to link to driver license
information. He said it was easier to access the DPS computer that
way. In the defense he presented to Gentry, Stanco said it was "my
belief you attempted to protect your supervisory staff from liability
by dismissing the Counseling Report" from Traylor and coming up with a
reprimand regarding Stanco's Internet usage. West said DPS could not
discuss the case because it was pending. Gentry was not available for

-- http://www.tulsaworld.com/common/printerfriendlystory.aspx?articleID=20080501_1_A1_hAdri20435
N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list