While some American employers and employees may complain about languages other than English being spoken in the workplace, mandatory English-only policies may not be legal. The law states that an employer must demonstrate a “business necessity” to put an English-only policy into action, but that necessity must be extremely serious or the business runs the risk of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
By discriminating against employees’ national origins, including banning their ability to speak a language other than English while engaged in work, employers may find the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) taking a serious look at the “business necessity” of the monolingual policy. And in cases like the one against the Delano Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in California, which tried to restrict its American-Filipino employees from speaking anything other than English, the result was a class action lawsuit brought by the EEOC ending in a $975,000 settlement paid out by the hospital for creating a hostile work environment.
So if you work in a business that instituted an English-only policy or other policy that infringes about your right to be free from discrimination against your country of national origin, call us for a free consultation.