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Job injury issues among Hispanic immigrant employees in hospitality operations

Juan M. Madera (C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Yin‐Lin Chang (College of Business, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The increasing number of Hispanic immigrant employee workers in the hospitality industry in the USA has led to some imperative issues and questions, such as how communication barriers and culture gaps influence work injuries. The purpose of this study is to examine factors that influence the extent to which immigrant employees report work injuries to their managers.


Using survey methodology, 154 full‐time employees working at a hospitality operation were requested to participate (60 percent were Hispanic immigrant employees, 40 percent were US born). Participants were given a Spanish or English language survey that contained the measures of interests, as well as demographic questions, and a debriefing statement.


The results showed that immigrant workers reported fewer injuries to their supervisors/managers than US‐born workers and the extent to which Hispanic immigrants speak English was related to the frequency of reporting work injuries. Immigrant climate moderated the relationship between Hispanic immigrant workers' English fluency and the frequency of reporting work injuries. The effect of English fluency was more pronounced for a negative climate work environment than a positive climate work environment.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides support for the view that limited English fluency has a negative influence on Hispanic immigrant workers' reporting of injuries in the workplace.


The current research shows that language barriers can be a possible explanation as to why immigrant workers report fewer work injuries to management than US‐born workers. Both English fluency and immigrant climate influenced the extent to which Hispanic immigrant employees reported injuries to management.



Madera, J.M. and Chang, Y. (2011), "Job injury issues among Hispanic immigrant employees in hospitality operations", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 354-364.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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