The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to expand the right to sue to individuals who don’t speak a second language. That leaves employers free to require second-language skills for some jobs.
Recent case: Joseph Chhim, who is from Cambodia, failed to land a job as a custodian with the Spring Branch Independent School District. The applicant who was hired speaks English and Spanish fluently, and the school district specifically sought bilingual applicants. Chhim does not speak Spanish.
He sued, alleging discrimination based on the languages he speaks.
But the court tossed out Chhim’s claims, noting that Title VII bars discrimination based on the “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” of candidates, but does not mention language as a protected class. (Chhim v. Spring Branch Independent School District, No. 10-20142, 5th Cir., 2010)