I believe my hours were cut because I am not bilingual; I don’t speak Spanish. I asked my employer for help with Spanish, and he asked me why I didn’t bring my Spanish dictionary. Can they do this?

Posted  10-07-2013

Steve Duggan replies:

I’m afraid they probably can. Although broad “English Only” rules at work are prohibited, they are allowed where there is a business-related reason for the rule, such as for safety reasons or the ability to communicate with customers. Important things to know in your situation would be whether that was part of the job description when you were hired, or a recent change, and if the latter, the reason for the change. If there is no legitimate reason for the new rule, you may be able to challenge it. I suggest that you speak to HR about it, and then you can also make an appointment to speak to an EEOC or DFEH intake agent, or a local employment attorney, if you feel you need more information. Good luck!

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