US: EEOC takes aim on ‘English-only’ rules

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Dec 6 15:30:33 UTC 2008

EEOC takes aim on 'English-only' rules

December 5, 2008 by Sam Narisi
Posted in: Discrimination, EEOC, Job Screening Tests, Latest News & Views

Are policies requiring employees to be fluent in English against the
law? In many cases, yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. The most recent case involves a suit brought by the EEOC
against the Salvation Army regarding its language policy. Two
Spanish-speaking employees were fired for failing to speak English on
the job and failing to learn language during their employee.

The Salvation Army's handbook lists "Fluency in English; written and
spoken" as a qualification for employment. Also, employees were
required to speak English while they were at work. Last week, the EEOC
agreed to settle the case if those rules were changed. The new policy
requires "an ability to speak and understand English in a manner that
is sufficient for effective communication with supervisors, employees,
beneficiaries and customers, based on the assumption that such
individuals can only speak and understand English." In other words:
Requiring fluency in one language is discriminatory. Hiring employees
with the ability communicate with customers, bosses and each other
N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list