Sheffield factory scraps ‘English-language only’ rule for European workers

Orchid Orthopedic Solutions, Parkway Close where workers have been told to speak English or face disciplinary action
Orchid Orthopedic Solutions, Parkway Close where workers have been told to speak English or face disciplinary action
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A Sheffield factory has scrapped a controversial policy to make European workers speak in English at all times.

Orchid Orthopedic Solutions on the Parkway Industrial Estate told employees today it was rescinding the recently-introduced working rule.

It follows The Star reporting on Saturday how staff had raised concerns the policy was ‘unfair and discriminatory’ towards the firm’s Polish and Slovakian workers.

A spokesman for Orchid, which manufactures medical devices, said the ‘well-intentioned policy’ had not been ‘interpreted in its intended manner’.

He said: “We have rescinded this request with immediate effect and are preparing a new instruction that is intended to make everyone feel welcome at Orchid while accommodating the language needs for effective business communication.

“We apologise for any confusion our well-intentioned policy may have caused. Orchid values diversity as it is in the spirit of our core values and demonstrated by the variety of races and ethnicities we employ.”

The company had previously said the policy was introduced as employees speaking in their own languages were making other workers feel ‘isolated and intimidated’.

An English employee told the Star workers had been asked to sign new versions of the company’s ‘Toolbox Talk’ working rules including the new policy.

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Sheffield factory introduces ‘English-language only’ rule for European workers