Sports Direct facing investigation after telling staff they can only speak in English –

Employment law experts last night warned that it could see them facing a raft of claims for indirect discrimination. 

The dictat first emerged in a store in Bangor, where workers pointed out that it effectively banned them communicating in their own language in their own country.  

The Welsh Language Commissioner has launched an investigation into the policy, which was described by critics as “discriminatory and offensive”.

Sport’s Direct, which originally said it was not an official directive, later admitted that it was notice that had been issued to all stores in the UK. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said that there must be a “clear business reason” and the “requirement needs to be proportionate” if a company orders workers to communicate in a certain language. 

The company, which employs more than 18,000 people, could face a raft of employment tribunal claims in the wake of the instruction. 

David Hodge, Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “As I understand it, Sports Direct is seeking to apply a blanket policy to all staff, but it would seem reasonable to assume that this policy will adversely impact those who are not native English speakers. 

“This potentially gives rise to a claim of indirect race discrimination and the question then turns to whether there is objective justification for that policy.