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Former tax office employee told to speak English-only sues Erath County for discrimination.

The Erath County Courthouse. Photo/City of Stephenville

Less than a month after leaving her job with the Erath County Tax Office, Veronica Cajamarca has filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging the county with discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Cajamarca’s Fort Worth-based attorney Susan Hutchison with Hutchison and Foreman, PLLC.

It a statement about the case, Hutchison said the law firm works hard “to eliminate discrimination in all of its forms.”

“It is appalling to encounter this blatant discrimination by a government entity,” Hutchison said. “We will be taking action and hope to effect some real change.”

The trouble began Feb. 7 when Cajamarca claims that she and another employee of the tax office, Marycruz Serrano, were summoned to tax assessor/collector Jennifer Carey’s office separately and asked to sign a document.

That document states, “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.”

Cajamarca, who was hired as a bilingual motor deputy clerk in 2021, refused to sign the document and submitted her two-week notice on Feb. 9.

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.

“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,” a portion of the statement reads. “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.”

Cajamarca said that since the story broke, she has received overwhelming support from people across the country.

“I’ve had a lot of talks with God about this,” Cajamarca told Beneath the Surface News. “It’s been overwhelming; I am still trying to look for a job, but it’s been very stressful.

“We are going to fight this as far as we can because this never should have happened.”

1 Comment

Mar 02, 2023

Good for her. The other employee also needs to sue.

This will become a very costly lesson for everyone at the Erath County offices. As a tax payer in Erath County I am unhappy having to pay for this kind of deliberate illegal act and other mistakes. They all should have known better.

Immediately upon winning an election, all officials of the county need two weeks of training on their responsibilities, ethical and legal requirements, and restrictions for performing their newly elected duties. Office management and supervisory training is necessary. A refresher week for returning elected officials is needed.

One would think the County Attorney would deliver a significant part of this training. In this case, the County Attorney als…

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