It seems like it would be an intuitive thing ... you require your employees to speak the language that is used by the majority of the nation's population ... if they speak another language, let them do it on their own time. There was a time, oh so long ago, when to speak a different language in mixed company was considered rude. There was a time, not so long ago, when immigrants (nay, even visitors) to a new country *bothered* to learn the language of their new country/destination. There was a time, even midway in the last century, when people wanted to fit in when they emmigrated to a new country 'cause we were all a "melting pot" instead of a "cobb salad" .... not so anymore.
Speaking English on the Job is Common Sense... Right?
Posted By Bobby Eberle On November 27, 2007 at 7:09 am
A new survey shows that a vast majority of Americans believe that companies should be allowed to require employees to speak English while on the job. This makes perfect sense, right? If you're on a construction site, and there is a large steel I-beam heading for your head, you'd probably want your co-workers to warn you about it... in English!
But yet again, this type of policy is causing an uproar, this time in Connecticut, where a sheet metal plant is being sued by five Spanish-speaking workers because the company "ordered its employees to speak only English on the job because of safety concerns."
First, some numbers... According to a new poll by Rasmussen Reports, 77% of American voters say "companies should be allowed to require employees to speak English while on the job." The telephone survey found only 14% disagree with the position.
The English-only worksite sentiment crosses party affiliations with 84% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats in agreement. "Just 13% of American voters believe that requiring workers to speak English is a form of racism or bigotry. Seventy-nine percent (79%) disagree."
Rasmussen notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not feel the same way as the vast majority of the American public. Rasmussen cites EEOC documents which state "linguistic characteristics are closely associated with national origin" and can therefore be used to "discriminate on the basis of national origin."
Earlier this year, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a Framingham, Massachusetts Salvation Army Thrift Store for requiring that only English be spoken in the workplace. In 2003, a federal court ruled in favor of the Salvation Army in a similar case brought by the EEOC. The head of the agency testified before Congress that “an employer who establishes an English-only rule has a responsibility to show a business necessity for that rule.” According to the EEOC website, 4% of those living in the United States speak little or no English.
Now, for the latest case... FOX News is reporting that "[a]fter a sheet metal plant in Connecticut ordered its employees to speak only English on the job because of safety concerns, five Spanish-speaking workers decided to take the company to court. The employees, who are legal immigrants, say the rule amounts to discrimination and actually makes the workplace more hazardous."
"I can think of no good reason for them to institute this policy," said Steven Jacobs, the lawyer for the workers who are suing GC Industries in Deep River, Conn. "It's offensive to people who speak Spanish and is potentially dangerous. It inhibits them from communicating in their native tongue in situations that could put people at risk."
No good reason? How about the safety of the other workers? Communicating in their native language might save them, but what about the others? This is America isn't it?
The main problem here is that governmental organizations such as the EEOC and liberal groups forget what America is all about. There is a culture seen around the world that is distinctly AMERICAN. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, and proud of it. Those immigrants came here to live the American dream and to BE American. Somehow, along the way, these groups forgot that fact and are actually discouraging immigrants from becoming American. The great American "melting pot" has been replaced by a "stew" in which everyone is encouraged to live in America but not embrace being American.