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Grupo MedLegal® > Blog > New York > Workplace Discrimination for Foreign Language in New York

Workplace Discrimination for Foreign Language in New York

If English isn’t your first language, it can be difficult to find a job in the United States. However, many employers – especially employers who are immigrants themselves – are willing to hire people who are still learning the language. Besides, for many job positions, English is not a necessary skill, because an employee doesn’t need to communicate with the English-speaking public.

Workers who speak little English or who have a strong accent are still protected by law. If you lose your job or suffer discrimination due to your ethnic origin or your knowledge of the language, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. At GrupoMedLegal, our employment attorneys in New York City, New York will help you to achieve the justice and compensation you deserve.

Restrictions that are Legal

Depending on the circumstances, many positions require workers to be fluent in a determined language. If a worker must be fluent in a language to do a job, the employer is authorized to hire only workers who speak that language. For example, if a server has to talk to clients in English – the owner can require that the new employee speak English. In the same way, if a company works with clients in China, the employer can hire employees who can speak Chinese. However, if an employee can do the job without speaking the language, then the employer cannot discriminate against the worker based on language.

Restrictions that Are Not Legal

Rules that only permit workers to speak English are more complicated than those that require fluency in English. Many times, employers that try to discriminate against a determined group of workers can establish these standards so that the group he or she doesn’t like will be forced to leave. Rules that require employees to only speak English must be necessary, and must not target a specific group. For example, if workers are not permitted to speak Spanish, but are permitted to speak other languages, this type of rules would be discriminatory and illegal.

However, if many workers on a job only speak English, an English-only rule while on the job may be necessary to ensure that everyone can work together. But, if they rule affects more employees than necessary, it may be discriminatory. For example, if an employer owns a store and a warehouse, an English-only rule may be necessary for the front part of the store. If the rule is not necessary for the warehouse workers to carry out their work, it may be discriminatory to apply the rule to all workers.

This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.

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