[lg policy] Outrage after McDonald's stops worker from speaking te reo

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 10:50:00 EDT 2018


 Outrage after McDonald's stops worker from speaking te reo Author NZ
Herald <https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/author/?Author=NZ Herald>, Section
National <https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/>, Publish Date
Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 11:57AM
[image: Following the incident, McDonald's released a statement saying they
believe there has been a misunderstanding but would look into the language
policy. Photo / Getty Images] Following the incident, McDonald's released a
statement saying they believe there has been a misunderstanding but would
look into the language policy. Photo / Getty Images
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A McDonald's worker is furious and saddened after management told her she
couldn't speak te reo Māori to customers.

Hamilton woman Janine Eru-Taueki was informed last Thursday by her manager
of the stance, saying the store had received complaints from customers and
other staff members and explained speaking te reo Māori could be considered
rude.

However, the 19-year-old, who has worked for McDonald's for six months,
says she's often asked by customers if they can order in te reo Māori.

"This is the first time I've been told by anyone that I can't speak Māori.
This is Māori Language Week, but to us students of that school speaking
Māori is normal. I speak Māori all the time," Eru-Taueki told Te Kāea.

"Some of the customers come up and ask if they can make their order in
Māori. I was really sad the other night because I couldn't speak to them in
Māori myself."
[image: Janine Reu-Taueki was told by her manager not to talk to customers
in te reo Māori. However the 19-year-old says many customers ask to speak
the native language when ordering. Photo / Maori TV / Getty] *Janine
Reu-Taueki was told by her manager not to talk to customers in te reo
Māori. However the 19-year-old says many customers ask to speak the native
language when ordering. Photo / Maori TV / Getty*

Following the incident, McDonald's released a statement saying they believe
there has been a misunderstanding as they hadn't received any complaints
about Janine but would look into the language policy.

"Across New Zealand McDonald's employs people from a diverse range of
backgrounds. English is used as a common language amongst staff to ensure
clear communication, and provide an inclusive environment. As required,
staff can talk with customers in other languages.

"In this case it sounds like there has been a misunderstanding, as we
didn't have any complaints from customers regarding Janine. However, it has
raised the issue of our policy and staff speaking Māori. We're following up
with Janine to understand her perspective and build into plans for future
policy and Māori Language Week activities."

Following Eru-Taueki's situation, New Zealanders have taken to social media
to support the 19-year-old with many encouraging her to speak te reo Māori
despite her manager's stance.

"Being an official language of NZ, you have every right to use Te Reo," one
person wrote.

Another said: "I'm sure a 'kia ora' is ok if the customer replies with
'hello' that's your cue to kōrero in English. Otherwise, te Reo Māori is an
official language of NZ."

"Good on you Janine ... 2018 and we are being told not to speak Te Reo??
McDonald's you have an opportunity to change the culture of your management
... I believe Janine is your girl to enlighten and educate them in their
ignorance towards diversity!"

However, some believe McDonald's are well within their rights to enforce
English as the language of choice while at work.

"It would be ok if everyone could understand it but they have a business to
run so it does make sense," one person wrote.

Another said: "I'm all for te reo Māori but when I worked in fast food the
rule was only English was allowed to be spoken on the floor. It's a health
and safety issue."


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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