[lg policy] New Zeeland: McDonald's pulls U-turn, now letting employees speak te reo Māori

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Sep 13 10:50:42 EDT 2018

 McDonald's pulls U-turn, now letting employees speak te reo Māori

   - 12/09/2018
   - Cleo Fraser


McDonald's has reversed its policy demanding employees only speak English
at work. Credits: Newshub.

McDonald's is directing all of its 167 stores across the country to revise
their language policy after a staff member was told they couldn't speak te
reo Māori at work.

Until now, employees were only allowed to speak English to their co-workers
- but thanks to a Hamilton woman, our other two official languages can now
be used.

Janine Eru-Taueki loves her language, and being told she couldn't speak Te
Reo at work was heartbreaking.

"The Māori language is my world," she told Newshub. "This is Māori Language
Week, but for us speaking Māori is the norm. I speak Māori all the time."

   - *McDonald's tells worker not to speak te reo Māori*

Ms Eru-Taueki says she was told customers had complained, and that she must
only speak English because it could make people feel comfortable.

"I don't agree, because Māori is an official language of this country," she

"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."

A poster in the staff areas outlines McDonald's policy, reading: "We can
speak different languages, however, on the floor, English is our

Simon Kenny from McDonald's says the Human Rights Commission advised it to
have a single-language policy.

"The advice of using a common language makes a lot of sense in terms of an
inclusive work place and people feeling like they're not discriminated
against, so I can understand the rationale behind it."

The Human Rights Commission told Newshub in some specific circumstances a
common language policy may be appropriate, such as for health and safety

However it said customer service would not appear to be a valid reason.

McDonald's says it was a co-worker, not a customer, that complained about
Ms Eru-Taueki - but says on reflection it got it wrong.

The fast food giant plans to make an apology on Thursday, and has changed
its policy to give its 9000 staff more McLanguages - including English, Te
Reo and New Zealand Sign Language.

   - *New York City café embraces Māori Language Week*
   - *How's your Te Reo? Take Newshub's Māori language quiz*

The Māori Language Commission says every New Zealander has the right to
speak Te Reo at work

"It's not acceptable in this country," NAME told Newshub.

"It's 2018, last time I checked - the last time I looked it's not 1818."

Thanks to one woman speaking out, a 'kia ora' could be served up with kai
next time you're at McDonald's.


 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

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