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Erath County sued for trying to force employee to sign ‘English only’ memo; defendant asks for jury trial.


The Erath County Courthouse

 

Erath County officials were formally notified on Dec. 28, 2023 that the county is being sued by a former employee who was told she could no longer speak Spanish at work.

 

Veronica Cajamarca was hired by the Erath County Tax Office as a bilingual motor deputy clerk in 2021.

 


A copy of the lawsuit obtained by Beneath the Surface News alleges that on Feb. 7, 2023, Cajamarca was summoned to tax assessor/collector Jennifer Carey’s office and asked to sign an “English only” memo.

 

Cajamarca left her job after refusing to sign the document.

 

In a previous statement about the case, Cajamarca’s Fort Worth-based attorney Susan Hutchison said, “It is appalling to encounter this blatant discrimination by a government entity. We will be taking action and hope to effect some real change.”



Cajamarca said she had to move her family to West Texas because she couldn’t find a job in Erath County.

 

“I spent months trying to live off unemployment and now, thank God, I am finally working again,” Cajamarca said Monday. “I’m just trying to pay off my bills that accumulated and get my family settled here.

 

“We are starting over from scratch.”

 


THE DOCUMENT

 

That document Cajamarca was asked to sign stated:

 

“English is to be spoken at all times while at work. English is the primary language of a majority of the employees of this office and in order to facilitate an efficient and harmonious work environment all employee shall speak only the English language except in limited circumstances.



“Languages other than English (is) only to be used when translating for a non-speaking English customer.

 

“Violation of this rule is grounds for termination.”

 

Carey and Erath County Attorney Lisa Pence, who reportedly approved the document, have declined to comment on the case, but Erath County Judge Brandon Huckabee issued a lengthy response when the story first broke. 

 


“This policy and rollout was a decision that Mrs. Carey made after consulting with Ms. Pence for use in her department without the consultation of the County Judge, Commissioners Court (County Wide Policy Makers), or the Human Resource Department,” reads a portion of the statement. 


This is not a policy that has ever been considered nor will ever be implemented at a County level, and I would strongly advise that no individual office issue such a policy.”

 

Huckabee said he could not comment any further on the pending case.

 


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