Mansfield selectman criticizes bilingual “Now Hiring” sign

By Dana Griffin


MANSFIELD, MA- Town selectman, Olivier Kozlowski is defending a controversial tweet he posted, criticizing the hiring practices of Lowe’s.

The home improvement store posted a bilingual help-wanted sign outside its Bridgewater store.

Kozlowski tweeted a photo of the sign with this question to the store:

“@Loews What can I expect from applicants who need the lower half of this sign?”

The selectman says he has no problem with bilingual signs. But, believes if people can only understand the Spanish language, how effective could they be at assisting customers.

Courtney Secher lives in Mansfield. She said, “It’s not right. It’s his own personal freedom of speech, but at the same time, he’s speaking for the town of Mansfield. Just because someone can’t speak English doesn’t mean that they’re any less intelligent than anybody else.”

Kozlowski said, “It wasn’t my intention to denigrate any sort of members of any classes of people or anything like that. It was a simple question to a business, does that really make sense?”

“I actually come from Spanish background and if somebody were to say that to me, I would be mortified. I don’t understand what the problem is. As long as they’re giving out quality, good customer service, there shouldn’t be an issue. There are lots of Spanish customers that I’m sure frequent the place and it’s just really sad,” said Mansfield resident, Shana Cintron.

Kozlowski has been defending the tweet since he posted it on Saturday. He doesn’t anticipate it’ll affect his position is selectman.

“Really, as an elected official I’m not allowed to have an opinion? That’s really disturbing and really stifles debate and discussion in this country,” said Kozlowski.

Selectman Kowlowski says his tweet was not targeted racially, nor was there a motive for posting it to social media. He says he won’t delete the tweet.

Lowe’s would not comment to the selectman’s tweet, but sent this response:

At Lowe’s, our top priority is meeting the needs of our customers and making sure they have a pleasant shopping experience. 

For many of our customers, English is their second language. Our stores have signs in both English and Spanish. We also recruit prospective employees who are fluent in multiple languages and can communicate with customers in the customer’s preferred language. It’s our way of providing exceptional service and a welcoming shopping experience.

Karen Cobb

©2014 ABC6/WLNE-TV. All Rights Reserved.