Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceCareers & EmploymentLaw & Legal · 1 decade ago

Can a employer tell to spanish speaking people that they cannot speak spanish in the work place?

Or that they cannot speak spanish each other? Isn't this breaking some kind of law....EEOC???


Geez! Almost all of you were wrong! I'm suprised by your answers I must say. But according to's very much illegal or at the very least worthy of a MAJOR LAWSUIT!! Hence the following article

They were the go-to people when customers needed advice in Spanish about eyeshadow or perfume. But when Hispanic employees wanted to speak Spanish to one another, they say it was forbidden - even on lunch breaks.

Five women who worked for the cosmetics store Sephora in New York filed complaints, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued last fall on their behalf. They argue the policy is too restrictive and amounts to national-origin discrimination, which is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

17 Answers

  • claire
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Where I work the supervisors have told the drivers that they may not speak in Spanish on the CB radios, I do not know if they can legally tell them not to or not.

  • 3 years ago

    Employer In Spanish

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes they can legally. Because their workplace is based on english and if no one else speaks spanish or only a certain group speaks spanish, they can talk about the other works freely without worrying about anyone understanding what their saying. It's not discrimination because the language of the US is english. Now if they said you can't speak english in the workplace, there would be some federal laws violated but as long as the language is not the national language its completely legal.

  • Mel
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Buenos dias -

    This depends on the company's policies. Many companies do have an "English-only" rule which prohibits employees from giving or receiving work instruction in a language other than English. This is to prevent the employer from having to provide work intructions, safety memos, signage, etc., in multiple languages (what if I have employees who speak Spanish, French, Tagalog, and Urdu? Must I translate every memo into all of those languages?)

    However, the employer CANNOT regulate what language employees speak on their breaks or meal periods.

    In the Sephora case, the employer apparently permitted the employees to communicate with customers in Spanish during business hours, but then attempted to prohibit the employees from speaking Spanish to one another. That's called a "double standard", and, yes, the employer lost a lawsuit as a result. You can't have it both ways.

    Espera que esta informacion es que su necessita para su pregunta. :)

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    4 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I can understand why the employer is upset. My father used to intentionally speak German to me when we went out because he was tired of people not speaking English around us. He taught me as a child that it was rude not to speak a language that someone does not understand when I could speak the language they do understand. Then, when we moved to Texas, after living here for 4 years, he changed his mind.

    Why not just respect the employers wishes at the workplace. Does the employer treat you right otherwise? Do you get paid well?

    Don't make too much out of it. Try to see it from your employers view. Have empathy.

  • Gary
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Yes. They don't like it, see ya, hit the door, you are out-of-here. More employers should do the same thing. I live in the USA and speak English. If I live in Mexico I would speak Spanish.

  • Rex B
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    If the job requires communication with clients in English, than yes they can. I might sound racist, but I immigrated here back in 1985 from Scotland and I had to learn English. People here aren't flexible to my needs as far as Gaelic is concerned. If I visit another foreign country they would laugh at me if I expected everyone to speak my native language. I don't have anything translated at the DMV etc... I knew when I came here that English was the first language here in the U.S. I'm still learning and I'm proud to be here.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think any employer can say "No talking to each other while they're supposed to be doing their job."

    But if they are telling ONLY the spanish speaking people, they cannot talk to each other and everyone else is allowed to talk as freely as they want, then Yeah, I think that's discrimination. Because it happens to be that they speak spanish because of their nationality. If two black persons were told not to speak to each other b/c they're black, that'd be one good lawsuit.

    What's he afraid they'll say to each other?

  • BIGL
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    i feel that the employer can make what ever rules they want and it's only right that everyone learn english .if they want to speak spanish do it on your own time

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