Republished from Before It’s News
This is a result of a year long investigation by grassroots human rights organization, Collective Consciousness. If you do not publish it, it will be news is what we can promise.
The story entails a language center in Amman, Jordan which has since 2006 continuously defrauded foreign teachers and students, severely abused its employees, sold copyright infringement, refused to pay its employees and fulfill promises, assaulted its employees, possibly spied and distributed personal information of its employees, and committed immigration fraud. This article attached to this e-mail is a product of Jordanians and Americans working together to stress the importance of labor reform needed in the country of Jordan. We hope with the recent article published in the Atlantic about the King of Jordan emphasizing his desire for reforming Jordan, this will be a positive message.
Below is one of the undercover videos we at Collective Consciousness have taken of the owner of this language center. Its contents reveal the owner, Khaled Allouzi, speaking horribly about other employees and also engaged in conversation about paying instructors to bring in students to cheat on the TOEFL exam (immigration fraud).
We have also attached photos of the location to this e-mail. There are photos of the back of the center, the front of the building where the center is located next to Majdi Mall, and the inside of the center.
Our evidence comprises of over 12 affidavits by former students and employees, public blog posts, and undercover video evidence. Education Testing services, the US Embassy, and the National Center of Human Rights are privy to this investigation.
The American ESL Center in Amman, Jordan:
A Professional Nightmare
The American English as a Second Language Center (AESLC) is filled with bustling students eager to improve the speaking and listening comprehension skills not available at the traditional four year universities. Wonderful personalities, avid enthusiasts of the English language, and ambitious young adults seek an avenue to explore new opportunities they may ascertain with the English language. On the surface of this apotheosis, the appearance is one of a great business location which buttresses the potential talents of language students. Albeit the cliché involving appearances and deception is a tiring one to read or hear, its veracity has not exhausted as much significance as its waning popularity.
The AESLC has a stature equivalent to most infamous establishments, and it is a poignant example of why labor laws are often beneficial not solely to employees, but to customers and a country. The AESL Center is owned by a husband and wife who claim both American and Jordanian citizenship. Since 2006, the center has promulgated public complaints in blogs and discussion posts on social websites, private and public verbal condemnation, and also formal grievances against the center. The chatter on this place is proliferating and can no longer be ignored. What are the conundrums? The following is a result of a year-long discreet investigation by human rights organization, Collective Consciousness.
The abuse of employees and customers encompasses more psychological than physical offenses, yet the damage is just as insidious. The criticism by former employees in a plethora of sworn testimonies range from personal insults of a humiliating manner by the husband-wife martinet owners of this establishment, to being contemned at for false accusations, and to mendacious threats. The only positive aspect of the owners’ severe abuse is they are at least not ribald when humiliating their employees. Several secretaries have been witnessed by teachers and customers, crying and shaking after being hollered at for such trivial mistakes as asking the female owner if she desired coffee, requesting salaries after the center was several months delinquent in releasing the funds to employees, or making a minor error such as forgetting to inform a customer of a TESOL class or a special discount by the center. One former employee stated,
“There are two other examples of unacceptable managerial behavior I witnessed, as did other teachers and students, openly in the center. The first one was a specific incident in which #### [female center owner] yelled and reprimanded a secretary in public while class was in session, sending her to tears. I can’t claim knowledge of the conflict, but feel compelled to mention the sight of the secretary crying. There was a student beside me who asked what had happened. I won’t forget that moment.”
A former coffee boy was sadly seen by two former employees being aggressively slapped, spit on, and chased out of the center by the male owner of the business on more than one occasion.
Teachers have also been menaced and threatened in front of students including one incident where the female owner chased a fleeing teacher out of her office after he repeatedly begged her “please #### , just leave me alone.” This employee was being admonished and mocked in front of the owners’ children and the Lead Instructor, within the confines of her dirty small office for over a time length of an hour. During the course of this interrogation, this employee had answered his phone and acted as if he had hung up his cell phone, when in fact, he kept the phone line open. A colleague on the other line heard the female owner screaming while the victim continuously brooked and requested in a polite and calm manner that he be treated as a human being. When he decided to leave, the female owner yelled, “You’re not going anywhere” and proceeded to hunt him down like prey from her office into the cafeteria area to commence scolding him in front of many students. Another former employee stated, “I have witnessed many experiences where teachers were yelled at, called stupid in many ways, where teachers were threatened by management to not get paid.” Other encounters by past employees enumerate persistent paranoid accusations by the owners against teachers for stealing textbooks, teaching outside of the center, he-said/she-said logomachy, and more.
Other expostulations by several former employees involve the two owners playing a childish game of divide-and-conquer where teachers would be secretly called into the office of either owner and ingratiate the employee with a warning that another instructor is spreading horrible gossip about him or her, that a co-worker is trying to steal or cadge their students or purloin their opportunities for promotion, and more. This type of strategy does well in creating an unhealthy environment where the staff are more concerned about their colleagues’ perfidy and fighting each other rather than on querying why their salaries are late despite the center declaring at a teacher’s meeting the opening of a new AESL center in Irbid city and the purchasing of brand new technologically advanced time clocks by the owners/parvenuses who own the AESL Center, why the printers and computers are suddenly not working immediately prior to deadlines for staff paperwork, why their students have no textbooks two weeks before the end of a six week course, why spurious promises by the owners are not fulfilled, why there is a high rate of employee turnover or signs of abuse in employees, and more. However, there is a plus for the employment of such management strategy, though for the owners. It increases the temporary competitiveness of teachers against each other, and thus augments the productivity of the center’s employees until the antagonist or protagonist of a puppeted conflict quits. As one former employee stated,
“I was also put in the office several times with ####, where she told me about other teachers talking badly about me to my students and to the management. Things escalated (by this I mean this behavior continued and got really uncomfortable) and management was always trying to put blame on the teachers. The teachers started feeling very uncomfortable and for some reason the management liked that and fed off of that. They would try to purposely turn teachers against each other even though it really doesn’t make sense to make the work atmosphere of your own center unbearable!!”
Another employee stated,
“She [the female owner ####] proceeded to talk about another teacher at the center – ##### ##### [instructor and former employee] – and how he was to blame for these behavioral issues with the students. She had reason to believe, she said, that the two students and ##### [instructor and former employee] were in some sort of cahoots, and that in general ##### [former employee] had been spreading misinformation throughout the center in order to stir up trouble. I tried to diffuse the situation, and noted that even if ##### [former employee] had said something offhanded, I’m sure it wasn’t malicious. #### [female center owner] looked at me quite seriously and, I quote to the best of my memory, “No, I know ##### [former employee]. He’s been doing stuff like this for a while.”
I proceeded to tell her that those two students in particular do not talk to ##### [former employee] much, and seeing as we spend all of our breaks in the cafeteria together, that ##### [former employee] is a friend of mine and I know him quite well now as both a friend and a teacher, I think I would know best. #### [female owner] persisted with her version of the story, at which point I told her, as softly as I could, that she was wrong, that this specific event has nothing to do with anyone other than myself and the two troublesome students, but thank you very much for helping me deal with the matter.
I was arrested by the unprofessionalism – to think that a manager would talk about an employee to another employee, a relatively new employee at that, and in such an openly antagonistic and divisive manner. It seemed to me her motive was purely factious: she wanted to pit one teacher against another on ad hominem evidence. Such was my suspicion. The facts are all that speak, and whatever the intention was, I took no part in the game.”
Worse, the owners develop special relationships with certain instructors and malign other employees in discreet conversations. Many former employees recall that the owners of the center share amazing and exaggerated stories of past teachers. One malicious and callous tale is of two former instructors who they claim regularly slept with students, one becoming pregnant from this relationship. This myth has gained popularity because of the owners’ persistent camp fire and Boy Scout like tales of indoctrination to newly employed teachers and students every session. As one former employee demonstrated his knowledge of this popular myth, “Some teachers are unfornately dating some of the center’s students while the students are enrolled. This “word” is getting around about the center. This is also common knowledge amongst the center employees and all involved.”
Another disturbing complaint by prior instructors is that the vertically challenged male owner uses his armed guard to occasionally intimidate and abuse the teachers. One past instructor asserted that she was sexually assaulted by one of the guards. Another teacher affirmed he was physically restrained once for no apparent reason. In a report filed with the US Embassy of Amman, Jordan, a past employee corroborated such behavior. This employee stated that he was threatened verbally and physically to sign a notice of termination. This employee refused to sign the unwonted document when he found irrelevant and personal information on this document about his former spouse. When he proceeded to leave, the owner threatened, “If you leave my office” twice and also commented “you won’t make it past my front guard!” According to this same report, a student distracted the guard long enough for this teacher to escape.
Although the majority of the verbal aspersions originate from the virago female of an owner, do not let her seemingly distant relationship with her husband deceive you. Although the married co-owners decline to publicly state or demonstrate their relationship so as to keep the public guessing, several employees have averred that the husband and wife co-owners plot together in regards to targeting their employees. Sometimes the owners fight each other and the employees are unwillingly dragged into the malaise. It is also salient to highlight that the Lead Instructor of the center is an instrument of their harassment and abuse of other teachers. She is either gullibly manipulated or connivingly complicit, as she hides under the guise of nascent rules to be enforced while granting special attention for disciplinary reprimand toward those employees the owners do not favor. For example, one employee testified he was late for a meeting and consequently castigated for it while being reprimanded with having his class canceled the next day. However, two other employees who were also not present during the same meeting were never acknowledged or reprimanded. This was verified via interviews of both employees who missed the appointment. In another example, a teacher was criticized for not having his displays on his classroom walls organized well enough, while a different instructor received no reprimand despite having less than the minimum amount required. A different former instructor was told to tuck in a portion of his shirt on his side that happened to stick out and then witnessed a favored teacher stroll into the cafeteria to grasp a glass of water with his entire shirt out of his pants. The list continues and the effects of the owner’s targeting against unfavored employees against his favoritism toward specific teachers are more than evident in the latter’s sinecures.
More complaints also pertain to allegations which are very unethical and insulting to those workers who have been observant and perceptive to espy abnormalities in their environment. A public blog claims, “…this place is packed with cameras so be very careful.” Another former employee stated, “The center uses spyware on the teachers’ computers, but doesn’t tell them nor is this mentioned in the Employee Handbook. This angered many of the teachers that later left.” These accusations havebeen verified to be true.
Worse, an affidavit by a former employee indicates that the fatuous female owner brought up his friend’s name and continued to request more information in relation to his cohort. He could not contemplate how she ascertained this knowledge and was bewildered as to why this person was of interest to her. He later became disturbed and felt insulted that she furthered her unwonted curiosity by questioning him on this matter repetitively, as if the female owner had the subtle supposition that an employee is obligated to respond to such probing elicitation about an employee’s personal life. A different employee testified that he was asked about particular details from his personal past history by the female owner as well. This employee swore that he was given an unwonted notice of termination to sign that had deceitful disclosure within its contents about comments he supposedly made about his past former wife in the center. Even worse, there is sworn testimony that the center regularly avoids reprimands for its unethical and illegal behavior since 2006 by sharing the personal information of its customers and employees with outside interests desiring to accumulate data on Palestinian activists or anyone who may be of interest. Whatever the derivative is for such unethical and strange patterns of behavior, it is very clear that an investigation has shown that many former employees are very concerned that their personal information has been compromised and shared with others for the benefit of the center’s owners.
Service and Quality
The service and quality at the AESL Center is also atrophied by the owners. As one student posted in Arabic:
المركز أخذت عندهم دورة وطبعا اللي اعطتنا هي ربة منزل امريكية وكان سعرها110 بس المنهاج كان ركيك وما كملناه ….اما الإستقبال مش مريحين في التعامل والكفتيريا أسعارها فلكية.. مواصلاته سهلة ولكن ما بنصح حد ياخد دورة فيه
“The Cafeteria is expensive and doesn’t have a variety of selection. The reception is not comfortable…I don’t advise anyone to take lessons there.”
This complaint is also true.
Prices are exorbitant accompanied by low quality and diversity. The cafeteria charges double the normal rate for beverages than can be purchased in nearby places. Of course, the small amount of time during class breaks indirectly restricts teachers or students from taking a stroll to the next door cafe shop. The only menu selection is coffee, tea, or drinks. The cafeteria is not the sole enigma of this place though. Students have complained that the local newspapers advertised a certain price for classes only to discover they were charged a higher price after registering for classes. In addition, when teachers are enjoying breaks in the cafeteria, where they may puff a cigarette and enjoy coffee in front of gigantic duplicate signs which state in large print “Pay first”, a teacher may find his or herself answering questions by students or fulfilling requests to help with homework until one of the owners arrives enraged that an employee is teaching English for free. One teacher claimed that when he was defending his decision to aid one of his students with her homework during break, his defense was answered by the owners with the retort, “this is bad for business” and “Jordanians always want something for nothing!”
According to former employees; teachers without degrees or experience teach advanced level courses, classes are awarded to those who are savvy in maintaining good relations or remaining obsequious to the owners in contrast to their class performance and credentials, non-native speakers of English are presented as native scholars, lecturers with a modicum of or without any business background are suddenly perspicacious instructors of Business English, and infringed books which can easily be purchased on Amazon.com are copied page-to-page and sold with the courses. The center’s standards also do not meet third party establishments they do business with. For example, the EBC company that approves TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses for customers desiring to be certified for instructing a second language, advertises on its website that its TEFL instructors possess an average of ten to fifteen years experience, but the center regularly endorses TEFL instructors in their TEFL program with zero or null familiarity with teaching a foreign language or who want of adequate academic accolades or degrees. Furthermore, some students have complained that their peers with a close connection with the owners may tread pass the requirements for advanced courses of English. For instance, one former employee stated it was normal for certain pupils of lower English levels to attend the TOEFL preparatory classes he taught even though the center’s policy restricted many others until they reached the upper echelons of the center’s advanced ranks.
The unfulfilled and tumid promises made to instructors employed at the center also trickles down to the students too. According to former clients, many promises of quick and magical improvement in English are made to prospective customers which are often impossible to ascertain. Furthermore, the teaching methodology and style of the center under the tutelage of the center’s female owner is described by former employees and customers as appropriate for young children as opposed to the majority adult specimens in this center’s exploratory English lab of nascent and inchoate pedagogy. One former employee stated,
“I worked at the American ESL Centre on University Road and I don’t recommend it at all. There are no standards in teaching and no conformity. The lessons are poorly organized and a waste of time and money…The owners give students a lot of promises about the classes which aren’t true and don’t end up happening. They are also abusive to teachers.”
Students have other persistent lamentations. Sometimes class books are not given to the students in a decent amount of time or not at all. Just as unfulfilled promises trickle down from employees to customers, the abuse occasionally does as well. In one circumstance, a former teacher testified in his affidavit that the female owner of the center suddenly pulled him to the side one day and demanded he intentionally make a conglomeration of students who had complained earlier about the center, feel stupid in the classroom. Other punishments in the nefarious chain of molestation by the owners entail using teachers as a conduit for retribution against students who have offended them or their business in the slightest manner. This revenge comprises of demanding some instructors to give certain students lower marks, apply rules strictly toward specific students while being lax with the majority, ignoring students within the courses, and more.
The aleatory salaries of teachers are the most outstanding problem and cynosure of the stigmatization which plagues this center. Since 2006, many former employees have made remonstrations against the center for receiving their pay late or not getting paid at all. The amount of money owed can extend to such lengths as 1,732 Jordanian Dinars over periods of months with another former employee owed 1,500 dinars for over a year. One former employee sued the center in court as she averred about her civil litigation case:
“I was employed by two of the most disgusting con artists in Jordan. They strictly hire US citizens who are not familiar with the country and fail to pay them their salaries. Fortunately for me, I had dual citizenship and my mother took the bastards to court for my four months of salary. Finally after nearly two years in court, I finally won the case and got my money. For those who are not familiar with the country lost their money and time. It’s tragic to see foreigners have such a horrific experience. I hope the center gets shut down ASAP by the Jordanian government. The US Embassy will not protect any US citizen against these thieves because the center is not approved by the US Embassy so please beware.”
Many empty guarantees are made to the laborers of the center involving payments of courses and private lessons, salary increases, future promotions, and also Jordanian residency in exchange for employment. This fraud does not commence in the beginning, but slowly makes victims of those the owners are not fond of over time for any particular reason. As one former employee stated, “I will say that at my time at the American ESL Center next to Majdi Mall, I was treated very nicely in the beginning and got my pay on time. However, things later (sooner than later really) turned sour.” Another instructor and customer commented after finishing the TEFL courses for training to be an instructor, “Promises of pay raises were promised, teachers took classes online (TEFL) to be certified, with a 20-25JD raise per class being promised, only to find out that once the course was completed (and paid for by teachers themselves) that pay raises were not granted.” An entirely different employee commented in her affidavit about the psychological ramifications on instructors resulting from the center delaying the payment of salaries and the plausible impetus behind such antics:
“They keep promising they will pay and then postpone paying ultimately keeping their staff working for them ‘for free’. Because ultimately, we are afraid to leave because we worry that she will not pay us. Again, keeping us there for free. It is a type of psychological blackmail. “
A different former employee stated,
“Though the employee handbooks, word of mouth promises by the administration, and contracts claim payment is the 5th of every month, the salaries are nearly always late. Often and disturbingly, the salary may not be paid for employees for a period of a month or two. Occasionally, some may never get paid at all. “
Another different employee stated, “Pay was mostly always late, with many excuses given and always putting blame and lying about money being stolen, money not being enough, students not paying etc even though all the teachers and the people working at the front desk, including the accountant who had an office next to the teachers office would say there was money available for the teachers to be paid.”
Another employee stated,
“But twice a week the teachers were told to expect pay in the coming days, and it never came. When I finally took offense at the excessive false promises – after all, many of us teachers had been avoiding our landlords for weeks, and enough was enough – they, the management, were extremely apologetic and promised payment within two days. It did not come for at least another four, and none of the managers in charge of payroll were seen in the building during this time. I do not claim to know why the American ESL Center withheld money for so long, but I refuse to believe any excuse is a valid one. The pedantic scrutiny of our otherwise sufficient work only exacerbated the matter.”
There also exists ‘special taxes’ or missing money that magically emerge and disappear on the receipts of salary payments and from the mouths of the owners. One former jobholder stated that after threatening the owners to pay him his salary,
“#### ###### calculated my pay for the 10 lessons to be equal to 145 JOD, and noted that this amount is tax-deductible. Later when I got paid, I received 125 JOD only. That’s way more than a tax deduction.”
Another employee stated that his employment contract expressed he was supposed to be paid 250 Jordanian Dinars for every class but was only paid 200 JDs, with a verbal oath from the owners to be compensated the remaining balance at a later date and time. However, that remaining balance vanished from the memories of the owners. A huge number of former employees swear an oath that the center promised and blandished them an exact amount of money, this money and more never materialized.
In addition to defrauding instructors, the rules of the center are occasionally strictly enforced via deductions from teachers’ aleatory salaries for the most minor of infractions coincidentally and sequaciously when salaries are delinquent. Otherwise, the enforcement of these rules are ignored or omitted completely, when financial circumstances for the center are up. However, during the downs, if a teacher is not within a classroom five minutes before class the teacher is docked 7 Jordanian Dinars for each offense. Teachers are also deducted pay if lesson plans are not up to par despite the fact that they may be more qualitative than other teachers’ who ingratiate the owners. One former employee stated,
“During my time at the American ESL Center, there were several managerial problems with which I took major issue. I brought some of these to attention, namely the unprofessional and clearly dishonest delay of payroll. The entire staff received their checks over a month late, after repeated false pay dates given from the management. During the month-long period without salary, regulations and restrictions to monitor the teacher’s performance were increased threefold. Management told us that every new rule, regulation, and bit of scrutiny came directly from the Ministry of Education.”
A different employee stated,
“I will, however, state that I witnessed another teacher, ####, be withheld payment for not completing menial paperwork. The rest of the staff was paid, and it was clear that #### had not been, and she was distraught about it. Again, when I inquired about how such a small issue as a few scraps of paper could warrant the withholding of salary, I was rebutted by remarks about “the ministry’s standards” and so forth. I claim no expertise in the matter, but I sincerely doubt the Ministry of Education mandates such delays in the case of a few lesson plans gone askew: there are more far pressing matters in the world of education. There are bookless schools to fill, teacher-less classrooms to fix, and administrative corruptions to unearth. Yet I doubt a ministry of high regard, faced with a hardworking teacher short dotting a few I’s and T’s, would call for such extreme measures.”
In addition to low pay and sporadic deductions of portions of salaries, the center also requires each instructor to donate extra unpaid office hours and attend long and ineffectual workshops. One former employee stated,
“Each teacher is required to do a lot of extra work and attend workshops for which there is no monetary compensation. The workshops at the center can be a few hrs in length, too. Teachers are made to work plenty of overtime without getting paid for it. They don’t pay on time (sometimes not even at all). There is a large turnover of teachers and students because everyone leaves.”
Salaries are not the only disappointing ghosts employees chase. The center does not follow through with expectations advertised. The center fails to fulfill promises of a one year residency card to their employees, comfortable and Western type housing, exciting trips to historical sites, future promotions, pay raises, placement in jobs, and more. Some former employees have stated the pull of such advertisement inevitably led them to a nightmare instead. As one former employee stated,
“Once through immigration [arrival in Jordan], I found there was no one at the airport to bring me to my studio apartment (the one provided in the accommodation package). Slightly confused, I managed to purchase an international calling card and contact Mr. ###### – the individual whose son was initially supposed to pick me up from the airport. I managed to get directions to my temporary residents, and took off to find a taxi. According EBC, transportation to and from the airport was should have been approximately 25 Jordanian Dinars, I paid 35.”
Expecting a three bed room apartment in Jordan that appeared semi-decent according to pictures sent from the female owner of the center to him in the United States, he instead arrived in Jordan and stumbled upon a favela, “I was provided with a studio, a one bedroom studio with no hot water, a broken bed, and no clean drinking water. The fridge did not work and most of the electrical outlets were inoperable.”
This former employee continues, “The EBC website also promised, a two night stay in Pertra and a city tour of Amman. Again, these promises were not upheld by the American ESL Center’s administration or staff.”
“The accommodation package was priced at $800, but for what? I was not provided with any of the specifications professed by EBC. So, the ancillary inquest is simple, where did the extra money go? It certainly was not spent on trips and tours, nor was it allocated towards proving me with a proper living arrangements.”
The sidereal dreams of fresh undergraduate students were not the only aspirations crushed by the lies from the charlatans of this center. The former coffee boy illegally worked here for years past his visa expiration, anticipating a promised residency card for him and his family. However, this coffee boy’s employment at the place ended before his ambitions could arise. Another former employee stated that he engaged in a discussion with this employee in front of the center one day and elicited information about his welfare. This same employee testified that the former coffee boy stated that he no longer worked at the AESL center, his wife was in the hospital, and he needed money owed to him from the center from over a year; in order to get his wife out of the hospital.
Attempts to ascertain salaries have always been met with more broken tumid promises and sometimes even threats. As one former employee stated, after arguing with the male owner with a pulchritudinous over-sized belly, “Because of the heated argument with Mr. ##### where I told him I would go see a lawyer about my pay, he threatened that if I were to bring a lawyer, he’d have a 100 lawyers defending him and that I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it because of his family name and money.”
It would be construed as an accurate assessment to assert that the lines of ethics and professionalism have been torn asunder by this center. The center has also breached those demarcation lines pertaining to laws as reports and affidavits have recorded such illegal acts as sexual and simple assault and a reported kidnapping in the preceding paragraphs, and now also immigration fraud. Two former instructors of the center have sworn that the male owner bribed them to provide him crackpot test-takers to score high on the TOEFL exam on behalf of other students. Both teachers testified that they were punished afterwards when they did not carry out this request. The reprimand consisted of the male owner manipulating or ascertaining the complicity of his wife and the Lead instructor of the center to make the worker’s employment at the center unbearable in order to coerce him or her to quit. If the teacher did not resign, he or she would be ultimately fired.
Many former employees were verbally told that the center is affiliated with the American Embassy. Personal visitation to the authentic language institute which ‘is’ affiliated to the US Embassy, the American Language Center, and direct contact with the US Embassy of Amman, Jordan have determined that this spurious claim is not true. Nevertheless, this fabrication brings in customers and teachers.
One public blog post by someone under the name Sand Teacher from the American Language Center which ‘is’ connected to the American Embassy stated,
“I am connected with the American Language Center (http://www.alc.edu.jo), an extension of the Public Affairs section of the Embassy of the United States in Amman, Jordan.
If you hear the name American ESL Center, PLEASE DO NOT confuse them with the AUTHENTIC American Language Center–we are two entirely separate and unrelated entities, though some would like to take advantage of our excellent reputation by sowing seeds of identity confusion.
We would cringe at any of the above-mentioned things being done in our center. If these things are true, and they are being done by Americans working in Jordan, it is shameful and unacceptable. I apologize on their behalf for tarnishing the reputation of Americans.”
Another comment on the discussion forum stated,
“To repeat a previous post from 2009, the American ESL Center is not AMIDEAST or the American Language Center. The ESL Center has had a bad reputation for some years now.”
A totally different blog post stated,
“Please note that the phone number listed is NOT their number, but is the phone number of the American Language Center (552-3901) located off Madina Munawara Street next to Queen Alia College. The ALC is affiliated with the U. S. Embassy in Amman, and does NOT have any other branches in Amman.”
It is pertinent to also briefly mention that the center regularly copies page-to-page Longman’s Preparation for the TOEFL Exam: The Paper Test by Deborah Phillips and consistently distributes those replicas for sale to students. A query as to whether the center has a license or permission to do this by a phone call to Longman’s company representative has revealed the center does not have the legal authority to do so. Copies of the books they have sold with the center’s logo on it are now circulating among authorities.
Reiterating a point made in the beginning of this article, the labor laws of Jordan must be improved. It is an awesome country with kind hearted people and an amazingly large and unequaled hospitality. However, its tourism and educational services cannot reach its potential when stymied by crooked places as in this article, taking advantage of the foreigners with dreams and open minds and hearts, who come to explore the great Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan only to be vexed and victimized to augment the pelf of the avarice. When one attempts to imagine the consequences of such an atmosphere, one can assume this is one of the many reasons that the employee turnover rate at this center is higher than any sidereal pinnacle in the mountainous region of Amman, Jordan. But this center has to be shut down before this cancer grows! The Jordanian people’s heart is well known, as it sustains refugees of all types despite the detrimental effect on its own economy. There are other countries such as Bangladesh that refuse to succor those who are fleeing danger. Many have to extend a sincere thanks to the people of Jordan for following their heart and religion. But we still can use progress.
As one former employee of the center stated,
“Keep in mind that the center is owned and operated by Americans who live here in Jordan. Some of the things stated above wouldn’t be allowed in the States, but they happen here. Rules are different. Labor protection is different. Certain situations were taken advantage of in the minds of many of the center’s former teachers.”
Why do some workers endure such treatment for a while before quitting? Many of the employees do not complain because they need the money. Others don’t care as long as they eventually get paid because they do not have the experience to get a better and more reputable job. And others fall for the initial cadging and lies without having the acumen or common sense to see past the words and acts of professional charlatans. Another exigent question is how can the center get away with such acts for so long? Some say it is because the owners’ family who are in higher and more affluent positions within the Jordanian government have enabled them, by protecting them. Others say it is because they share the personal information of its employees with others to avoid reprimand. Perhaps it is a combination of both. Finally, why have past employees not filed a civil litigation suit or complained louder or plighted to battle this monster? It is because some feel they don’t have the time nor money for the long drawn-out court process, others say that the Jordanian people and government are desensitized to endemic corruption because it is the norm here and thus neither the former or latter will care or help, a larger proportion are afraid of the repercussions by the owners’ large and affluent family, and a smaller portion just do not care for people’s rights including their own. One former employee stated,
“Dear ESL Cafe Subscribers,
This is a warning to anyone considering a position at The American ESL Center. It is a center located on Queen Rania Street near Jordan University. I worked there from September through December and received NO SALARY! People warned me before I got the job there that others, who worked at the center, did not receive their salary either, but I did not listen.
I worked my tail off, and the owner of the place, along with her husband completely cheated me. They particularly choose American citizens because the owners assume that most Americans who work there will leave the country and not fight for their rights. Furthermore, the owners of the center come from a huge family. Because Jordan is such a tribal country, big families with power can get away with lots of criminal acts (like hiring people and not paying them a salary).
Please take what I have written under considertation. These people are liars and thieves!!”
Regardless of the differences of opinions as to the answers to the questions above, what matters now is will this microcosm of corruption, the American ESL Center, be allowed to persist here in Jordan with impunity? Or is justice and truth principles that the government and people of Jordan not only enforce, but also protect and reward those who strive for such traits to be attributed to the great Kingdom of Jordan? Or will Jordan demonstrate it doesn’t possess such large distinctions from some of its neighbors? This investigation and article was made possible because a combination of Jordanian and American paladins worked together to make a stand when many refused to. It is a mystery as to why Educational Testing Services and the US Embassy in Jordan have been munifecent to the American ESL Center in not shutting them down to preclude more harm to other innocent victims. As one former employee stated,
“As an Arab American, this was a disgrace to have to go through all of the humiliation and see teachers continually not get paid, get yelled at, called names and promised many things that never ever were fulfilled by the management there. Yes I only quit and went to get my money weeks later and didn’t go to make a complaint even though I knew and still know that what goes on at that center is disgusting, illegal, and immoral. I am glad that someone had the guts to stick up for what has happened and what continues to still happen at the American ESL Center and I am happy to get to state only some of the things that happened at this center that I have honestly witnessed. All of the teachers that start at the center leave after they witness these things and we are a large team, glad that we can finally take a stand together against these injustices.”
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the adjective professional means “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession or exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.”
None of the preceding traits can infer that the American ESL Center is professional, diametrically and more accurately, it is a professional nightmare which must be condemned.
(Sources derive from public posts on discussion boards, video evidence, and many affidavits.)
*Note* Only a portion of the evidence can be released due to constraints by ongoing investigations.