Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Can My Employer Ban Me From Speaking Spanish To Co-Workers?

An AOL Jobs reader asked:
Good afternoon, I have a question. I was just told by my supervisor that I cannot speak Spanish to my coworkers in our department. She states that some other non-Spanish speaking workers claim it makes them uncomfortable. I am asked to assist Spanish-speaking customers with no additional pay, but this is not a concern. I will certainly comply with this request, but I am not sure if it is fair or even legal. I hope you can clarify this for me. Thank you for your assistance.
I'm always surprised how many employers try to impose English-only policies or ban speaking a particular language when there are so few circumstances where such a policy would be legal. Most English-only policies at work violate the laws against national origin discrimination.

Take a look at my article Can My Employer Ban Me From Speaking Spanish To Co-Workers? to find out more about English-only policies in the workplace.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.