A popular custard stand in Milwaukee — rumored to be the inspiration for Arnold's Drive-In on TV's "Happy Days" — says its employees must speak English on the job and can't take orders given in foreign languages.
Ron Schneider, the owner of Leon's Frozen Custard
, a family owned business since 1942, is standing by his 10-year-old policy, which only recently came to light among customers.
"Hey, c'mon! It is America. We've spoken English for a long, long time. Any foreign language is going to be a problem," Schneider told Fox6Now.com.
"What I'm trying to avoid is when people come up here, get waited on in a different language because there happens to be an employee who speaks that language … It's going to get disruptive if we have to become bilingual, trilingual or anything else."
Some in the heavily Latino area aren't happy, while others say it's much ado about nothing. Fox6Now.com said the policy became an issue this week when one of Leon's employees, interacting with a Spanish-speaking customer, was heard telling him in Spanish "I'm not allowed to speak Spanish to you.''
Another Spanish speaker, surprised by the policy, also asked for custard in Spanish and got the same response.
The League of United Latin American Citizens wants a federal probe by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, calling Leon's policy a "clear violation of federal labor law."
Leon's, considered a Wisconsin landmark for its classic chrome and neon design, made national news in the 1990s when President Bill Clinton stopped by for some soft-serve custard.
In "Happy Days," which ran from 1974-1984 on ABC-TV, Arnold's Drive-In served as the official hangout of biker Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler.
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