Factory Fires Workers for Flunking English Test

Factory Fires Workers for Flunking English Test

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A Salt Lake company fired six workers for flunking English tests.

The Latino workers say they were singled out by Weider Nutrition Group for tests others weren't required to take. They filed complaints at the Utah Labor Commission.

Weider justifies the tests by saying increasing scrutiny from the U-S Food and Drug Administration has forced it to make certain employees fully comprehend job and machine instruction manuals.

But the fired workers say they can read manuals and successfully operated machinery for years.

The head of Utah's antidiscrimination division says it has taken increasing complaints in the past two months from workers forced to take English proficiency tests. Officials refused comment on any particular case.

Gloria Guevara says her English skills were good enough for her to obtain U-S citizenship and a Utah driver's license -- but not good enough for Weider Nutrition Group.

Guevara, who packed vitamin bottles for six years, was fired last month for flunking the test.

Labor-law attorney David Anderson says companies must show that English tests are necessary for the safe and efficient performance of their business -- for bank tellers, for example.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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