It involves a Green Bay Wisconsin metal and plastic manufacturer that fired a group of Hmong and Hispanic workers over their English skills, “even though those skills were not needed to perform their jobs,” according to the feds. More importantly, forcing employees to speak English in the U.S. violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, says the Obama administration.
Here’s the twisted explanation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws; the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.
Therefore, according to this reasoning, foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.
Requirements of English fluency and so-called English only rules are often implemented to make what is really discrimination appear acceptable, says the government attorney handling this case. “But superficial appearances are not fooling anyone,” he assures.
“When speaking English fluently is not, in fact, required for the safe and effective performance of a job, nor for the successful operation of the employer’s business, requiring employees to be fluent in English usually constitutes employment discrimination on the basis of national origin — and thus violates federal law.” (read more)