A Shifting Burden: Recent Developments Related to English-Only Policies in the Workplace


English-only policies in the workplace are not new. The first reported case involving an English-only policy

occured in Texas in 1979. Since that time, numerous employers have either adopted or considered adopting

such policies. While employers can identify benefits of having an English-only policy, such a policy may expose

an employer to claims of national origin discrimination. Applicable case law and regulations are complex and in

some cases inconsistent. This article provides a brief overview of the regulations surrounding English-only

policies, court decisions that define what constitutes a business necessity, and recent developments relating to

English-only policies in the workplace.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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