If you have a good business reason, you can require employees to speak English on the job. But don't go overboard. As a New York City hotel just found out, requiring English be spoken at all times, even in the employee breakroom, can spark an EEOC national-origin claim.
The EEOC recently settled a national-origin claim filed on behalf of a group of Hispanic workers at the Melrose Hotel. The employees will share an $800,000 settlement.
At the heart of the case were allegations that Hispanic employees were subjected to an English-only rule that required them to speak only English at all times, including on break. The hotel agreed to drop its English-only rule and to train supervisors and managers on employment discrimination laws. It will also revise itsto include a revised policy on the use of English.
Online resource: To read the EEOC's interpretation of a legal English-only policy, go to www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/national-origin.html#VC.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Go ahead! Fire if worker sneaks confidential docs to EEOC
- Prepare for changes in reporting <br/> workers' race on EEO-1 form
- A few isolated, annoying comments don't create a hostile work environment
- FLSA and Georgia law: Figuring overtime pay for commission employees