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Thread: Is it discrimination? Nevada

  1. #1
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    Question Is it discrimination? Nevada

    Hello,
    I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and work for a construction company in the office which makes me deal with a lot of spanish speaking only workers. I was told by my last non spanish speaking manager that I am not allowed to speak spanish which I took offensively but ignored it and have not been told that since. Today a couple of workers came in that had a question about their time, I was speaking spanish to them since they don't know any other language. When they left my new non spanish speaking manager (which is the owners sister) called me to her office and told me that from now on I had to speak to them english. I said ok but how am I going to address all these workers when all they know is spanish, and I know Nevada Laws are mostly about employers just want to know if they are allowed to tell me I can not speak spanish in the workplace. Please advise.

  2. #2
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    Do what your boss tells you to do.

    Oh, and hire workers that understand English.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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    And if they have the legal right to live and work here, they have to have some form of understanding english. So it's likely they are illegals if they don't.
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
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    That's not necessarily the case, Jack, depending on how long they've been in the country. They can have some understanding without being fluent enough to understand complex directions.

    Let's not make assumptions.

  5. #5
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    Sheesh.

    It is possible that an employee can be here legally and not speak English.

    It is idiotic to require some other, English speaking employee, to use only English with the legal employees that do not speak English.

    Makes no sense at all, from a business perspective.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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    I agree with the position that Employer should employ those who can understand directives. If those directives are in English and employee cannot understand them, then the applicant should not be hired.

    But such is not the case. Employer did hire these people, regardless of their immigration status. The deed has been done. Now, if the only way the spanish speaking manager/supervisor? can communicate with these employees, which have been hired, is to speak in a language which is not English. Alternatively the employer needs either to fire these employees and hire those who meet the qualifications of the job, which should include fluent understanding, speaking, reading, writing of English. Or again, bite the bullet and let supervisor communicate with the employees in a language other than language for the sake of doing business.

    If I were you, I would refer these people to your boss for any issues relating to issues of policy, including speaking only English. I think your boss may have a change of heart when she realizes she's unable to communicate effectively. Or she'll fire them. Or maybe she'll fire you. In any event, you can't win but I think the chances are less punitive and at the same time you can prove your point by just putting the issue back on your boss.

    Good luck.

    p.s. Are these your hires or your boss's hires?

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    LLimon,
    If your manager wants you to speak english to the workers your best bet is to follow this very clear directive. Unless of course it is worth loosing your job over. You manager may have a valid reason for asking you to do this and is really is in your best interest to follow through with this.

    What will happen out on the job site if the supervisor does not speak spanish and these guys need to be given a warning of impending danger? Seems like a disaster waiting to happen to me for them not to learn enough english to understand simple directions.

    How did they fill out their job applications if they don't speak or understand english? I have on occasion found that some imigrants insist that they don't understand english that were only feigning this and did indeed understand and speak the english language. Some like to make a game of this and one quite frankly I don't find humorous.

    Again I would advise you to heed your managers directions. As you have already been told refer them to her if you can't communicate what you need to to them in English and let her deal with them.

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    Just to see who IS or IS NOT an illegal-
    There's a few websites for groups that don't like illegal aliens, and if you find the right one you can buy reproductions of the old INS jackets. Buy a couple and have someone not part of the work crew wear it while visiting the worksite.
    NOW see who makes a hasty departure....
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
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    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
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    Impersonating a federal agent is illegal and comes with some very stiff penalties. Not everyone who speaks a language other than English is here illegally. Not even close.

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    The EEOC says there has to be a specific, business/operational necessity if you're going to have an "English-only rule."

    If there is no business necessity for only speaking English, it would be difficult to justify such a rule. You can read more about this at the EEOC's website:

    http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/national-origin.html#VC


    Without knowing all the details, I could not say if your business has an operational necessity for people to speak only English. Considering they have hired non-English speakers, however, I don't see how they could argue that an "English-only" rule is a necessity. If it were a necessity, they would have hired people who are able to speak English.
    Last edited by LFO; 05-21-2007 at 10:34 AM.

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    I suspect that the OP's situation falls into that area that would justify the speak-English only rule. He was communicating with his subordinates about work related matters - their time - and the non-Spanish speaking manager could argue that she should know what they are being told.

    Employers tend to run afoul of the national origin prohibitions of Title VII, when they require employees to speak English on breaks and during other personal or non work-related conversations.

    It's foolish to hire employees who don't speak English, if the employer requires employees to speak English, but doing so does not change the application of the law. Further, it's not clear who hired the non-English speaking workers. The non-Spanish speaking manager may have not been involved in the hiring, and left to her they wouldn't be employed.

    It's also foolish in today's climate, especially in construction, not to hire workers who can do the job regardless of their fluency in English. Many construction companies have bi-lingual crew leaders and supervisors simply because so many of the workers they need to employ don't speak English.

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    Everyone has added just a little bit of common sense which is great. I just think that the whole thing started with the hiring of those who are not English speaking. Perhaps the person who spoke about those faking their inability to communicate in English is right on the money, however, it doesn't get this person out of a jam. I think he's trying to work this out.

    Anyone have any other ideas other than bouncing it back to his boss? I was just shooting from the hip here. I just think it's going to get ugly for him and he sounds like he's between a rock and a hard place.

    Not a good place to be. LLimon, were these your hires or management's? I think the responses that you get would be more meaningful if we knew who did what. I understand that sticking up for one's self is a moral and ethical responsibility, but with that may come a price. I speak from experience, and think you should carefully consider these options. It's not for the faint hearted! Sometimes one had to swallow some pride and be practical. However you choose to handle it, I wish you luck.

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    The federal courts are divided over the question of whether English only rules have an adverse impact on minorities and are thereby illegally discriminatory. In particular the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Nevada, in the decision that you cite, ruled that it didn't have an adverse impact.

    Most of the cases on which the courts have ruled involved employees who were bi-lingual. I gather that the employees at the OP's work site aren't bi-lingual. They only speak Spanish. I suspect that the employer could simply terminate their employment if it discovered that the employees couldn't speak English.
    Last edited by mitousmom; 05-26-2007 at 04:32 PM. Reason: spelling

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    We can argue 'til the cows come home as to whether the ee's would have a legal case if the er tried to enforce an English only rule at work. But that doesn't help LLimon who is caught in the middle between the ee's and the er.

    LLimon, as ridiculous as I may think your boss's order is, your best bet is to either obey it and live with it, obey it but start looking for other work, or disobey it and don't get caught. If it were me, I'd be looking for a better job with a more reasonable boss ASAP, but in the meantime trying to stay out of trouble and obey the orders. And if ee's came to me and didn't understand my English explanation, rather than risk being fired (at least until I'm ready to suggest to the boss that he/she can follow Johnny Paycheck's advice as to what to do with my job) I'd refer them to the boss and let him/her deal with the repurcussions of the no-Spanish rule.
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    oh my god i can't believe this. This is totally discrimination. if i were you i wouldn't care what my boss says. And if they fire me i wouldn't care either, because i couldn't work for such person, who doesn't understand anything and discriminate people. i hate that kind of people

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    Okay, six days later and lots of banter and it seems as though the OP has left the building ... I for one would like to know the outcome of this rather bizarre request from the supervisor. She may have a valid excuse for not letting the OP speak to the workers in spanish. Seems to be the norm for this particular business as OP says the previous non-spanish speaking supervisor had given the same directive. Humm, interesting.

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    as i said before total discrimination , and seems that you people agree with the supervisor, what a shame

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    Since we don't know all the factors involved, including the reason behind the supervisor's directive, no one can say for certain whether it's ILLEGAL discrimination or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seobeglobal View Post
    as i said before total discrimination , and seems that you people agree with the supervisor, what a shame
    You are laboring under the assumption that all discrimination is illegal. It's not.

    For instance, you can insist that no blind people apply for a truck driving position.

    You can insist that all people working for you understand the language that the company uses daily... or that the majority of it's customers use.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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