Ohio Bar Owner Changes 'For Service Speak English' Sign Following Discrimination Complaint

A bar owner who faced a discrimination complaint over a message in his window has removed a sign that read "For Service Speak English" and replaced it with one reading "Here We Speak English."

"If someone doesn't like it, have them call me," Tom Ullum, owner of the Pleasure Inn in this city northeast of Cincinnati, said Tuesday.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal, an area agency that handles fair-housing issues, filed a complaint with the state in July 2005 over the original sign. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission later ruled that it was discriminatory.

Ullum, 64, removed the "For Service Speak English" sign in November as part of a settlement agreement.

The housing agency will not take issue with the new sign, executive director Elizabeth Brown said.

"There is a difference between signs that express political opinions and those who deny service," he said. "The settlement said he would not put up any sign that would limit service. I do not see that (new) sign as limiting service."

Ullum never intended to discriminate against anyone, posting the sign to show support for English becoming the national language, said K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish language advocates in Arlington, Va., which represented Ullum before the state civil rights commission.

"The new sign still gets his point across," McAlpin said.