[lg policy] Asserting the Right to Use the Native Language in the Workplace

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 13 14:40:37 UTC 2010

Asserting the Right to Use the Native Language in the Workplace

Rodney Mesriani
Published August 12, 2010 by:

Are you having a hard time complying with the English-only policy in
the office? Does your accent influence how your co-workers or
officemates treat you? Is there no direct relationship between the
English-only policy  and your job duties?
If you answer yes to all of the questions, you can assert your right
to speak in one's native language in the office.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees and
implements anti-discrimination laws in United States. It protects
employees from unfair labor practices that offend one's national
origin, language, and race. It includes evaluation of companies'
English-only policy and its effect to employees, especially migrant

The Problem with English-only policy

Civil Rights Act Title VII prohibits act of discrimination in the
workplace on the basis of race or ethnicity, yet employers are getting
away with their policy of exclusive English workplace zone. The
problem lies in the consequence of violating such policy-- Migrant
workers often suffer the penalties. The heavy toil on sole language
rule puts international employees into a repressed minority in the
workplace. If you and your co-migrant workers are suffering from such
plight, you can file a complaint to EEOC.

EEOC action on exclusive English language policy

The EEOC recognizes that primary language closely embodies one's
national origin. A worker's original language is directly related to
one's national characteristic. EEOC accepts and considers a complaint
filed against an employer who implement English-only rule with
unreasonable cause.

EEOC evaluates such complaint based on the following:

1. The employer implements the English-only policy within the
workplace at all times.

2. The employee is prohibited from using his/her native language at
all given communication means.

3. The employee is put in a disadvantaged position in availing and
gaining access to employment opportunities.

4. The English-only policy creates a hostile working environment in
which the affected employees suffer isolation and inferiority.


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