What is the "English-Only Rule"? "The English-Only Rule is a rule that some businesses have that require there employees to speak only English inside the workplace."(HRM) There is an ongoing debate on whether or not this rule is a safety issue or just plain discrimination. Some people see the rule as a helpful safety precaution around the workplace, while others see it as a discrimination of there native language. Either way the rule does exist and is causing a stir around the workplace.
English-Only laws very from state to state. Some states have declared English as its official language and some have not. Some states even prohibit bilingual education programs. "There are sixteen states that have English-only laws. They include:
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia."(EEOC)
There are many pros and cons to the English-Only Rule. The most often reason brought up for the rule is safety and health concerns. If something were to go wrong in the workplace, it would be a big mess if you had 1,000 employees all talking there native language. Another reason for English-Only employers give is the need to maintain order and discipline in the work areas. If some settings, like a factory, employees rely on one another to keep the operations going as smooth as possible. If a fellow employee needed help with something it would be good to know the person next to you would understand your request and help out. Also giving directions to employees would constitute a problem also. The manager should not have to explain what is going on in five different languages just so everyone understands. The customer-employee relationship is another key factor for English-Only. It would be no help to the customer if the employee could not answer the questions of the customers in order to help them find what they need around the store....
Cited: American Civil Liberties Union. "The Rights of Immigrants." Human Rights Watch/Americas. www.aclu.org. April 1995.
Crawford, James. Census 2000: A Guide for the Perplexed. www.ourworld.compuserve.com. U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Last updated in 2002.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "English-Only States." www.eeoc.com. Copyright MMI-MMVI. Last updated Feb 2006.
Stitt, Anthony. "English-only rule: Safety issue or discrimination?" www.englishfirst.org. March 20, 2000.
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