Complaint: Agency failed to provide language assistance

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A complaint filed against the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training says the agency failed to provide proper services to non-English speaking residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the R.I. Legal Services lodged the complaint on Thursday with the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of Gracianne Noel, who speaks Haitian Creole.

According to the complaint, Noel was deprived of unemployment insurance benefits because the department’s failure to provide information in her native language. The ACLU says that violates a federal law that requires agencies that receive federal fund to offer programs for people with limited English proficiency.

Department of Labor and Training spokesman Michael Healey says the agency was not initially aware that Noel needed language access services because she had been receiving outside help in certifying unemployment claims.