Hamburger franchise Burger King is the subject of disciplinary proceedings in Catalonia in the latest chapter of linguistic turmoil in the region.
Catalonia’s Consumer Agency is currently studying the complaint of a customer who noticed that the self-service screens of the fast-food restaurant no longer included the menu or ordering options in Catalan.
“The electronic panel did not show Catalan as an option, so customers have not been able to order in our own language, a fact that contravenes the code and the law of Catalonia’s Generalitat,” wrote Xavier Dengra i Grau.
I la defensa de la llengua també passa per perdre 1h tramitant les tres còpies d’un full de reclamació a @BurgerKingGames.
— Xavier Dengra i Grau (@xavidegr) October 1, 2020
The complaint, which was initially filed two years ago, will now be studied by the Consumer Agency to assess the “alleged violation of consumers’ linguistic rights or the failure to comply with the linguistic obligations established by law”.
If found guilty, Burger King would have to pay €10,000 for what’s considered a minor infraction in Catalonia’s consumer code.
According to Catalan law, all manner of businesses in the region have the legal obligation to communicate or offer services in Catalan. Catalogues, contracts, pamphlets and restaurant menus therefore have to be in Catalan as well as Spanish.
It’s not the first time Catalan authorities ‘have beef’ with the hamburger franchise empire.
In 2019, the regional government’s labour inspection committee ruled that Burger King’s ban on male employees having beards infringed workers’ rights.
But it’s the linguistic debate raging in the region that’s a particularly prickly subject, given the connection the Catalan language has to the region’s identity and in many cases the separatist views of some of its inhabitants.
The latest divisive matter has been focused on Catalan vs Spanish in schools. A ruling that 25 percent of school lessons in Catalonia have to be in Spanish is reportedly not being respected by Catalan authorities.