Leon’s owner to meet with LULAC, group calling for federal investigation into “English only” policy

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MILWAUKEE -- There has been action and reaction as a controversial policy has come under fire at a popular frozen custard shop on Milwaukee's south side. Leon's Frozen Custard has an "English only" policy.

The policy has received national attention -- and on Friday, May 20th, Ron Schneider, the owner of Leon's, will meet with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) -- a group calling for a federal investigation into the policy.

Joey Sanchez

Joey Sanchez

This all started on Tuesday, May 17th, when Joey Sanchez overheard one of Leon's employees interacting with a Spanish-speaking customer.

"She whispered to him in Spanish 'I`m not allowed to speak Spanish to you,'" Sanchez said.

Sanchez was next in line. He also placed his order in Spanish. The employee gave him the same response.

"I`m trying to understand or find the why," Sanchez said.

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Primitivo Torres with Voces de la Frontera

Primitivo Torres with Voces de la Frontera

"This is very shocking. We're not going there anymore," Primitivo Torres with Voces de la Frontera said.

On Wednesday, May 18th, Ron Schneider, who owns Leon's Frozen Custard talked with FOX6 News about his policy.

Ron Schneider, owner of Leon's Frozen Custard

Ron Schneider, owner of Leon's Frozen Custard

"I specifically tell (my employees) that I really don't want you to speak anything other than English at the window, because a good number of people who might come up and talk Spanish also speak English," Schneider said.

Voces de la Frontera, a Latino rights organization is planning a protest at Leon's on Saturday, May 21st.

"This is clearly a violation of law, federal labor law, and we're asking the EEOC to make a thorough investigation," Torres said.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is calling for a federal investigation by the EEOC into the policy at Leon's.

Below is a statement from LULAC of Wisconsin State Director Dr. Arturo Martinez:

"In the last 24 hours, LULAC of Wisconsin has received numerous requests to investigate the issue of workplace policy as it pertains to language at Leon's Frozen Custard located at 3131 S. 27th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While many of us consider this as a community institution, it was surprising when we learned of their language policy, which is in clear violation of federal labor law. Upon reviewing the statements made by management in a video interview detailing Leon’s policy, we are requesting an investigation of this policy by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law is clear on this issue and offers few exceptions. In the meantime, we encourage management to review their current employment policies with counsel to bring them into compliance. We are confident that in doing so, it will lead to a stronger business and a stronger community.”

Leon's Frozen Custard

Leon's Frozen Custard

On Thursday, there was still a line at Leon's. Some said they showed up to support the English-only policy.

"The United States of America does business in English," a Leon's customer said.

"They're living here, working here for Lord knows how long and they haven't even bothered to learn the language?" Louise Bozek said.

"This is America. That's the bottom line. You want to come here and live? You learn the language," Dave Katzner said.

Leon's Frozen Custard

Leon's Frozen Custard

Schneider's policy has upset many in the largest Latino community in the state of Wisconsin.

"Tears came to my eyes," Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) said.

Zamarripa said she questions the legality of Schneider's policy, and said he owes the community an apology.

"We need to celebrate our diversity.  We are the most diverse part of the state," Zamarripa said.

Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) was one of those in line at Leon's on Thursday. He said he wanted to speak with Schneider to see whether a compromise could be reached.

"I've always seen Latino people working here and Latinos spending their money here and I always thought things were in really good shape and people come from all over Milwaukee and we're proud of our immigrant backgrounds," Zepnick said.

CLICK HERE to read a statement from Zepnick.

CLICK HERE to read a statement from Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee).

Leon's Frozen Custard

Leon's Frozen Custard

Bounce Milwaukee

Bounce Milwaukee

While some have called for a boycott of Leon's, other businesses are ready to scoop up disenfranchised customers.

The owner of Bounce Milwaukee on Thursday welcomed customers -- offering free ice cream to anyone who ordered in a foreign language.

"We decided that we would go in the opposite direction and embrace all different languages," Becky Cooper-Clancy said.

Cooper-Clancy said folks stopped in an ordered in sign language, Korean, Danish and more. She said her handful of staff members speak eight languages between them.

"We`ve gone through a lot of ice cream -- and that`s been wonderful," Cooper-Clancy said.

Schneider told FOX6 News by telephone on Thursday that it is just easier for his business if everyone speaks the same language. He said he is reiterating to his employees that they must do what they can to help customers. He told FOX6 News: "If you don't speak English, we will do everything we can to communicate with you."

Schneider said for customers, if there is a Spanish speaking worker at Leon's, that includes speaking Spanish.

Schneider said that's not a change in his policy -- but a clarification of it.

Leon's Frozen Custard

Leon's Frozen Custard

Google Map for coordinates 42.987786 by -87.948715.

68 comments

  • Kp

    so voces de la frontera. Why don’t you help your illegals become into a legal matter. You can’t blame America on your illegal acts.

  • USMC GRUNT 0311, AUTHOR OF SARCASM

    Stop all your liberal crybaby crap and get over it, I am a white proud American that has to push 1 for English, now that’s something to cry about, if you can’t speak english just go away, simple, stop crying.

  • mister fudgie

    And nobody prints their menu in Canadian!!!! Wahaahaahahaahaaaaa!!! I don’t know what to order, eh? Discrimination!!!!

  • cannibal

    How come the guy from De La Soulfronterass never had a problem going there and ordering in english until now? Unless, of course his sjw organization will exploit any opportunity to protest outside of the place. Just like the menards thing. Remember that?…Don’t worry, noone else does either.

    • Opinion8d

      Exactly…..just looking for ‘opportunities’ to be a victim!!! They’ll probably want Leon’s to fly the Mexican flag too!

  • Idiot

    Is that when the illegals start paying taxes? Or is this how it came about they got charged tax at check out

  • Opinion8d

    There is nothing that he should apologize for! I wouldn’t want my employees speaking in a language I didn’t understand….how do I know they are treating them correctly or doing business as I expect them to?? It’s his business, and he can run it as he see fit!

  • About that Life

    They wanna come over here, get the benefits, work n everything else b don’t wanna learn English. ….alot of them know English…….they just spaek d…when they think they w benefit…….I agree…..yhey should learn English…….U want the American Life n Benefits…..Learn English ……j like w would have2 learn anothet language if we came totheir country or applied 4 a job that was Bilingual. …..

  • PJ Michalski

    The immigrants who founded the US learned English. My German & Polish ancestors learned English. If anyone decides to live here they need to learn the language. If I went to live in another non-English speaking country I would learn the
    language. It is common sense which it seems most
    people don’t have
    anymore. If you don’t have
    the initiative to learn
    English go back to your
    homeland.

  • Tyler g

    Your title “no Spanish” is incorrect it’s an English only policy, there is a very clear difference. The policy is supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s rules, which state clearly that “Situations in which business necessity would justify an English-only rule include … To enable a supervisor who only speaks English to monitor the performance of an employee whose job duties require communication in English with coworkers or customers,” and that “As with all workplace policies, an English-only rule must be adopted for nondiscriminatory reasons only: For example, an English-only rule would be unlawful if it were adopted with the intent to discriminate on the basis of national origin. Likewise, a policy prohibiting some, but not all, of the foreign languages spoken in a workplace, such as a no Spanish rule, would be unlawful.”

    • Ryan

      Precisely. Also, the Leon’s rule applies to the employee only. Customers can speak whatever language they desire. At Bounce, however, the reward for speaking non-English was applied to the customer, a nod to thr Jim Crowell era when customers had many requirements dictated to them by racist staff.

  • Jeneice

    It’s a shame when business owners loose their rights running a business that a comfortable to it! I understand the owner concerns about bilingual conversations
    because someone may speak indecent about other customers or if the owner has a dispute then he could be targeted by negative Spanish speaking individuals! Sad taking the right away from this owner to do what he feels compiled in doing with his business. Now they still want to boycott his business! Spanish community get it right fighting for righteous reasons. Sorry day ppl…

  • Fat Joey

    Are we taking bets Joey Sanchez goes there multiple times a day. He just mad he had to wait in line. A lot of weight on them ankles I bet.

  • Becca

    Lol I get that Leon’s in a predominantly Hispanic community, but I can bet your bottom dollar that he doesn’t go to Kopps or Culver’s and order in Spanish.

  • Jane

    Maybe instead of complaining about the English only policy, those that don’t like it should learn English. If you live in America, live in the states, live off our government, have business free healthcare, then you should speak English.
    Enough of the whiny crybabies feeling they are insulted. What about the white people?? We have had to change for all the foreigners, to keep them happy. What about the white peoples rights???
    Speak English or go back to your own country.

  • Daniel Wells

    The point so many liberals are missing is this, should I be allowed to have McDonalds brought under Federal investigation costing them millions of dollars and possibly win a huge lawsuit because I couldn’t order a quarter pounder with cheese in my native tongue of luxembourgish? They do indeed have workers who speak luxembourgish, yet I haven’t found one in the USA. Shouldn’t they be forced to hire people who speak my language for all of their stores? I know that would be very cost ineffective and would probably bankrupt the company, considering they would have to hire roughly 400 employees for each store because that’s about how many “common” languages there are, but hey, I’m special and the world should all cater to me.

  • head hunter

    it is funny that all the people spoke pretty good english,i fought for america not mexico!!!!!!!!

    • Southsider

      Liberals are morons. They don’t need facts or reality checks. It’s all bout their feelings.

  • H.G. Coddingbourn

    Hey, Social justice warriors, flag burners, feminists, black lies, 15 dollar and shove it down my throat liberals, you would be an accurate representation of whats going on here, trying to destroy a business for speaking English, it seems like they lost track of reality and drifted into protest land. Have you met any SJW lately? They hate themselves. They hate that they’re more prosperous and different than others. They hate their nation. It’s a surprise they haven’t committed themselves into a psych ward. Reminds me of the Heineken beer commercial, “moderate drinkers wanted” which basically stomps on men while women are the cream of the crop and so wronged by their counterparts. This is America, If the owner can’t figure out what the hell your saying during a transaction then he’s not protecting his business.

  • BG

    I am from another country, I had to learn English. So I think if you come to the states, we need to speak and learn English.

    Why should a business given into one culture over another. Leon should have never given in.

    • Jay

      Good Luck with that… like many of you… He doesn’t have the sense that God gave other people. What will happen though is Leon’s will loss alot of business and that’s just the karma he deserves.

  • KariLovesHuskies

    Learn English of go back to Mexico. This is America, and the primary language is English here. Sick of catering to illegals, gays and welfare leeches.

  • Laura

    This country should have never started accommodating imigrants in the first place. My grandfather came to America from Germany couldn’t speak English but he worked everyday in a factory and then paid himself to take English language classes not free or provided for him. No one thought jeez we should speak German so he’s more comfortable. If you don’t want to speak English and learn our American ways then stay in your own country we don’t need you!

  • AmericanEnglish

    This is America, if you can not speak English not OUR problem it is yours. Most places have picture menu’s for those who can not speak. I do not see anyone on the new speaking or complaining on their behalf. If you don’t like it go somelace else, If you were born here you should be able to speak the native tounge. If you moved or snuck in LEARN AMERICAN ENGLISH, we shold not have help you ut more than we have y allwing you in this great country.

    • Jay

      For everyone non English speaking person over here there is at least one American in another country speaking English. So I guess it’s even. Other countries teach English as a second language. Americans are so behind in the world. We all “think” we are better but we are not. You posts prove that. And we wonder why we are hated… So sad.

  • Ruby McFarland

    Geeze, why do these Non-Americans have to make everything a big f******* deal and a federal case? And for those with citizenship complaining, you’re a big part of the problem. We are an English speaking country, or at least we were before the hostile illegal takeover.

  • USMC GRUNT 0311, AUTHOR OF SARCASM

    Leon’s shoul move location out of Milwaukee to a nice hood, problem completed.

  • liberalssuck

    SO sick of this crap.How about we have a federal investigation in to ALL THE ILLEGALS CROSSING THE BORDER?
    How about we have a federal government that actually does its job and enforces our immigration laws and quit spending billions on illegals each year while leaving scraps for our veterans and elderly.Ooooh he requested english only…’TOUGH S***.

    • Opinion8d

      Couldn’t agree more!!!! Sickening that this gets their attention, yet they do NOTHING about the illegals streaming across our border. AMERICA FIRST!

  • Jay

    This is ridiculous and truly sad. This policy is racist… pure and simple. I will never eat at Leon’s again. I no one else should. Americans are so self important. I’ve done business with other countries and have had to speak to many other cultures. And I don’t speak another language. They ALL knew English. So what if it was the other way around. What if French, German, Mexican hotels, stores, etc required that we only speak their language. How many Americans are living a broad including my son who do not know the native language? Too many probably ALL. Other countries are expected to know english to do business with us but we cannot allow spanish speaking people to speak to another spanish speaking person?! RIDICULOUS!! All you people who are supporting this are ignorant. Open you minds, thoughts, hearts this world is not all about Americans!

    • Opinion8d

      It should be the decision of the business -whether it’s good or bad for business -not a concern of the government. Did you ever think that maybe other customers don’t want to go to a place that makes them feel like they are in Mexico?? Maybe he’s worried those customers will go elsewhere. Also, if he doesn’t speak Spanish, how does he know what they are saying? They could be talking crap about the place, they could be sexually harassing a worker/customer and he or other wouldn’t know it. Funny how they got along all this time with no problems/complaints and now the SJW’s are all over this.

      • Jay

        Your reasoning is weak at best. Employees talk crap about their boss in English Spanish Dutch whatever. So the issue is they are supposedly speaking bad, sexually harassing someone or whatever …. That is crap and just excuses for the real reason behind this policy. If he doesn’t want spanish to be spoken at his business then he should hire non spanish speaking employees. It’s funny how racism, stereotyping and profiling always have reasonings behind them but it doesnt change what it is. A horse is still a horse even if you dress it like a zebra. All you people think some how you are better then these intelligent hardworking people. But you are not. It’s so clear from all these hateful ignorant posts that Americans have a lot to learn.

      • truthy nation (@truthynation)

        Jay, we ARE better. We’re smarter, prettier, larger, stronger, more productive per capita, and just all around superior to Mexicans. I’m not talking white vs latino. I’m talking US against Mexico. That’s why they all want to come here to get away from their own kind who made a shambles over everything south of the Rio Grande. Then, they get up here and want to make it just like home. Then it becomes just like home. Just like Mexico. Ever been to the barrio? We don’t really need Mexico here. It’s just fine where it is. Nor do we need politicians and voters who are of the opinion that it is OK to turn the U.S. into yet another failed banana republic.

  • Silent no more

    I want to thank Leon’s Frozen Custard shop for requiring all there employees to speak English. It’s time we stop catering to these ignorant, unwilling to adapt to our customs and culture foreigners who are turning our country into a third world sh!t hole like the one they’d left!

    • Jay

      ignorant? Seriously… I’m sure they have way more sense this you. Don’t you feel bad about yourself? You are so hateful toward people who have done nothing to you. All they want to do is live and work.

      • Libsareliars

        And that’s all my ancestors who came from Germany wanted to do was work hard and make a living. The difference being they all were taught and spoke English unlike the current roster coming from Mexico. Maybe you should look in the mirror and see who really is ignorant.

      • Mj

        Well here we speak English. So to live and work here speak English. Trust me other countries expect you to speak their languages and don’t have cater to people who refuse to comply.

  • You Know Who You Are

    Hey Fox 6 – Who cares about the Mexicans and ice cream. Why not have an article informing the public that the little bastard who got the teachers aid fired at Bay View was arrested for being a part of the dealership break-ins recently? Does it not fit your narrative?

      • You Know Who You Are

        Hey Jerkoff, I mean Jay. Why don’t you set up a GoFundMe account so you can open up an ice cream shop and cater to whoever you want. You can speak Spanish, d!ckhead, A-hole, Swahili – whatever you want!

    • Truth

      I know who you’re talking about. Kids name is like Jadion, right? He’s a Tarver. I think he’s thr nephew of Nick Tarver and Charity Tarver, and the grandson of Pastor Kenneth Tarver. Even after people knew who he was, after he threatened that Bay View aide, his family went online and defended him. Even after that, he to GD and showed his gun online. That kid needs to be deported from Milwaukee.

  • Hate police

    Who moved the Wisconsin economy to the top white people not is Latino people moved the economy latin ok people work hart every day white people stay at home waiting for the food stamp one time a month I’m Latino and I spic spanish every where this place have to go out of business cose have only American custumer.don’t forget there going a lot latinos

  • Mike K

    Surprised the author was too lazy to actually look into whether any labor laws are being violated. Shoddy reporting.

  • truthy nation (@truthynation)

    Speak-English -Only Rules
    The EEOC has stated that rules requiring employees to speak only English in the workplace violate the law unless the employer can show that they are justified by business necessity.

    A rule requiring employees to speak only English in the workplace at all times, including breaks and lunch time, will rarely be justified.
    An English-only rule should be limited to the circumstances in which it is needed for the employer to operate safely or efficiently.

    Circumstances in which an English-only rule may be justified include: communications with customers or coworkers who only speak English; emergencies or other situations in which workers must speak a common language to promote safety; cooperative work assignments in which the English-only rule is needed to promote efficiency.

    Even if there is a need for an English-only rule, an employer may not take disciplinary action against an employee for violating the rule unless the employer has notified workers about the rule and the consequences of violating it.

    So, LULAC Locos.. Ron is doing nothing illegal, and breaking no laws. What he should do is file a lawsuit against LULAC for harrassment and discrimination, and possibly extortion.

  • Mj

    I lived in Italy for 3 years and guess what…i was expected to speak Italian. I am sorry, but i don’t see a problem with a business not speaking spanish.

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