Expert on blowing
- Feb 12, 2003
New AZ law: Firms have no legal duty to have translators
another step toward AZ as english only?PHOENIX - A Glendale optometrist's yearlong legal fight over what services he had to provide for a Spanish-speaking customer has translated into new protections for other businesses.
Gov. Jan Brewer has signed legislation affirming that nothing in state law requires businesses to provide "trained and competent" interpreters when a customer comes in speaking a language other than English.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Walker said that has probably always been the law. But that didn't save John Schrolucke from having to spend time and money defending himself and his practice before Walker's office finally dismissed the case.
Schrolucke told lawmakers the incident stems from a patient who spoke only Spanish. Although she did bring her 12-year-old child with her to the office, he said allowing the child to interpret for the parent would have gotten him into legal trouble.
He said he faced a potential malpractice lawsuit if the child did not properly translate some of the more technical explanations being provided, so he turned the woman away, telling her through her child to come back with someone at least 18 years old.
Schrolucke said he also gave the woman the option of going to one or two other optometrists who speak Spanish.
Instead, he said, the woman filed a discrimination complaint with the Attorney General's Office.
State law prohibits discrimination in places of "public accommodation," which include restaurants, hotels, theaters and any place that offers services or goods to the general public.