Is English-only OK? We can’t understand what Hispanic workers are talking about — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Is English-only OK? We can’t understand what Hispanic workers are talking about

Get PDF file

by on
in Human Resources

Q. We have a number of Spanish-speaking employees. We can’t tell, but we suspect they sometimes make inappropriate comments in Spanish about our clients and other employees. Can we require these employees to speak only English when at work?

A. Probably not. Depending upon the specific circumstances, there may be some restrictions that you could impose. However, requiring employees to speak English simply because you suspect that some employees may be saying inappropriate things in Spanish would unlikely be a legitimate business reason for imposing a companywide English-only requirement.

English-only policies are full of pitfalls. They are lawful only when justified by business necessity, such as to communicate with customers or co-workers who speak only English; to communicate when a common language is needed to promote safety or efficiency; or to enable a supervisor who speaks only English to monitor the performance of an employee whose job requires communication with co-workers or customers.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: