White Americans, what?
Nothing better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out?
You’re an immigrant too!
– Jack White, Icky Thump (2007)
According to the EEOC, "A rule requiring employees to speak only English at all times in the workplace is a burdensome term and condition of employment" and presumptively "violates Title VII." It requires an employer to show a "business necessity" to support such a rule.
The majority of federal courts, however, have shown greater tolerance towards "English-only" rules. Generally, courts will uphold an English-only rule if an employer can show a legitimate business justification for the requirement. Examples of legitimate business justifications that have been found to justify an English-only requirement are:
- Stemming hostility among employees;
- Fostering politeness to customers;
- Promoting communication with customers, coworkers, or supervisors who only speak English;
- Enabling employees to speak a common language to promote safety or enable cooperative work assignments;
- Facilitating a supervisor's ability monitor the performance of an employee; and
- Furthering interpersonal relations among employees.