English-Only Policies Result in Lawsuits
According to reports from USA Today, companies across the country are considering adopting policies that require employees to speak only English on the job. The result has been a backlash of lawsuits alleging that such rules can discriminate against immigrants. As noted in U.S. Census data, roughly 11 million residents are not fluent in English, up from 6.6 million in 1990.
Employers who have implemented the English-only policy say it was done because of safety and customer service in their business. Experts argue that there is a very fine line before employers begin discriminating.
According to reports, employers may legally adopt an English-only speaking rule if they can show it is a business necessity, such as the need for communication with co-workers an customers or safety-sensitive situations where use of a common language could prevent an emergency.
"The number of charges filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging discrimination based on such English-only policies is small but six times as large as 10 years ago, from 32 charges in 1996 to about 200 in 2006." Regardless, employers are seeing resistance from both employees and customers as a result of the policy.
To read more about how some companies are handling the debate, click here.
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