1 December 2003
BARCELONA – A teacher who was sacked from a Barcelona school claims she lost her job because she taught Catalan.
Helena Bosch is suing her former employers, the Centro Catalan Comercial school, on the grounds of “linguistic discrimination”.
But her bosses said that Bosch, who was on probation, had her contract cancelled because of an unjustified absence on her first day of work.
Catalan is considered an official language in Catalonia and has the same legal standing as Spanish.
Bosch was hired by the Centro Comercial Catalán, a private school, to give classes to children.
She told a court in Barcelona she was absent on the day in question because she was suffering from gastroenteritis and had a medical certificate.
Bosch said she went for her first interview on 1 September and was “surprised” that the centre’s director commented that “speaking in Catalan would be a problem”.
“I said it was no problem since Catalán is a co-official language and used in teaching,” she said. “But he answered that Spanish was used in his centre.”
She said she was called to the director’s office on 10 September, where “he threatened to fire me if I didn’t give my classes in Spanish”. She said she would make the effort to do so.
Six days later, on 16 September, she said she received a letter of dismissal, which simply stated she had not passed the probation period and her services were no longer needed.
However, she said she is “firmly convinced” she was fired on linguistic discrimination grounds.
The school’s lawyer, Jorge Escudero, refuted Ms Bosch’s claims and said she was fired for missing her first day of work.
He added that the school “never instructed her on which language to teach in”.
Ms Bosch’s lawyer, Juli Esteve, is demanding that the dismissal is annulled and that his client is reinstated.
He has informed the Catalonia government’s Education Department about what he claims is a case “linguistic discrimination”.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news