Miami-Dade County

Woman Claims Coconut Grove School Didn't Give Her Job Over Spanish Accent

Miladis Barnes said she was discriminated against because of her fluency in English

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A Miami-Dade County Public School employee claims she was discriminated against when she applied for a full-time job because of her Spanish accent.

Miladis Barnes has been working as a custodian full-time at Carver Middle School in Coconut Grove for four years and also part-time as a security monitor for two years.

Last Thursday, she applied for a new full-time job as a security monitor. She said the principal of the school denied her application because of her English language skills.

"Another person, because another person speaks perfect English and me not perfect English," she said.

Now, Barnes' attorney has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"Verbally it was denied to her as the principal Ileana Artime told her she was unqualified for because she speaks English with a Spanish accent," attorney Bruce Kaplan said. "And there's absolutely no way that there's any way that the school board can deny that there is discrimination on the face of it, and all that Miss Barnes wants to do is work."

Some of the duties listed in the Miami Dade Public School's job posting for School Security Monitor include physically patrolling school buildings and grounds, questioning students not in class, and reporting any safety or other problems to the administration.

Miami-Dade school officials released a statement saying in part "that they don't discriminate in hiring or employment practices" and added that as of Tuesday afternoon, they hadn't yet received a complaint from Barnes or her attorney.

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