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Situations where requiring English is not discrimination

Employers all throughout New Jersey know and understand that they cannot discriminate against their employees for various reasons. One of those reasons is language. Employers cannot discriminate against employees because they have an accent or because they speak a language other than English. But, there are situations where employers can require their employees to speak English on the job and it is not considered discrimination.

It can be acceptable to require employees to speak English in the event of an emergency. Requiring employees to speak the same language when an emergency occurs in the workplace can help save time and lives, especially if the premises must be evacuated.

An employer can ask an employee to speak English when interacting with customers, vendors, co-workers or supervisors who only speak English. This does not mean that the employer can force the employee to speak English at all times while at work, only when they are interacting with others who can only speak English.

If there is an assignment that must be completed with extreme proficiency, requiring employees to speak English while working on it should be safe from workplace discrimination.

An employer can also ask a supervisor to speak English when monitoring the efficiency of an employee who has been asked to only speak English when dealing with other employees, vendors or customers of the business. This will help determine proficiency with the language and efficiency with the work being performed.

English can be required by employers in any of the situations mentioned in this post and usually be safe from workplace discrimination claims. As an employee, you need to make sure you know the law so that you can avoid being discriminated against based on the language you speak.

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Costello & Mains, LLC

18000 Horizon Way, Suite 800
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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