Rep. Price: English in the workplace should be OK

Rep. Tom Price yesterday introduced a bill which would, in the words of a press release from his office, “ensure employers have the freedom to establish ‘English in the Workplace’ policies.” According to Price’s office:

The Common Sense English Act [H.R. 4464] amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act so that it is NOT an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require an employee to speak English while engaged in work. The bill is designed to give freedom to employers to make workforce decisions and establish

34 comments

  1. Dave says:

    ‘Bout time somebody had the stones to do this. Excellent! You wanna live and work here? Be legal and speak our language. Period. You don’t like it? Go back and live in that tin shack you escaped from. Of course, some weenie federal judge will overturn it. Thanks for trying, Tom.

  2. souldrift says:

    Pssst. English in the workplace IS ALREADY OK. It’s the mandatory English that’s up for debate.

    That said, this is exactly the kind of distrust of others that leads to the USA being the Western country least capable of speaking more than one language. And this is the kind of nonsense which led me to vote against this guy.

    Congrats, neighbors!

  3. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Quoi? Talk about your unrelated subjects — allowing employers to require employees to speak a uniformly understandable language is the reason why our kids aren’t learning foreign languages well?

  4. rugby_fan says:

    It is a horrible business decision to require one language to be spoken.

    We live in an increasingly international and borderless world.

    It makes strategic sense to promote multilingualism rather than have some jingoistic, nativist ideology blind your thinking.

  5. Mike Hauncho says:

    Rugby,

    Don’t try to associate mandatory English in the work place to a lack of interest in learning a foreign language. Your point makes it seem as though we would be more interested in learning other languages if they spoke it at work. If you have to wait until you are an adult, working a regular job to want to learn a foreign language then you were not going to learn it to begin with. Teach it in schools as a mandatory elective. That way you can chose to use it or chose not to use it once you enter the real world. Employeers should have the ability to require that all employees be able to speak a common language and that language is English. I don’t know why so many people have this soft heart for illegals in this country. I have no problem with their work ethic but there is a line that is crossed (not the border) when we have to meet their needs and forget about the needs of our own. And who are you going to use the foreign languages on? If you are in an international business then you hire people who can speak that language but in order for them to communicate with you you better hope they can speak English. This bill would not ban other languages from being spoken.

    No habla espanol!

  6. Adam says:

    Can we get Americans to speak proper English first? Haha.

    More seriously, in an office environment of hundreds, we have a few very recently naturalized American citizens who still occassionally speak Spanish to each other. We are not a in multi-lingual business environment, so there is no practical cause for it. But sometimes they just feel more comfortable communicating in the language of their birth. I dare say it makes them more productive when they are working on projects with each other. I can’t see any good from a bill that would allow workplaces to squash that.

  7. rugby_fan says:

    Mike:

    That completely misses the point.

    It is bad business in today’s world to do anything other than encourage multilingualism.

    Name one company that is struggling to get its job done because functionaries don’t know which language to speak to each other? I am guessing none of the Fortune 500.

    Even in pluralistic countries in Europe, there is a default language spoken. The mother tongue of that region. Work gets done.

    Creating legislation because you don’t like illegals is not only dumb, it is an unnecessary expansion of the government.

    But its against the “illegals” so I guess that is OK.

    “If you have to wait until you are an adult, working a regular job to want to learn a foreign language then you were not going to learn it to begin with”

    With all due respect, that is such bullshit I will let you hold on to this belief.

    “I don

  8. Jeff Emanuel says:

    You said it right in your first sentence, Rugby: business decision. Price appears to be taking the government’s finger off of businesses’ decisions with regard to language, and allowing them to make their own good or bad “business decision[s].”

    I don’t react to your comment by thinking that government needs to regulate those decisions, but by thinking that businesses that make poor decisions will be weeded out by the free market.

  9. rugby_fan says:

    Jeff:

    This is nothing more than an unnecessary expansion of the government for nativist purposes.

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again.

    I will also repeat that it is the government is taking the wrong stance by doing anything other than encouraging multilingualism.

  10. AubieTurtle says:

    Rugby, how is this expansion of government if it removing the ability of government to sanction employers who want to require English to be spoken in their place of business? It doesn’t require the employers to do so, it just removes the potential penalty for doing so.

    Having the government use its power to encourage multilingualism, be that a good goal or not, certainly does represent an expansion of government power. You can argue whether or not it is a good use of government power but to pretend that it is a reduction of government intrusion seems disingenuous.

  11. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Rugby, I’m very interested in the explanation of how removing government control over an aspect of private business is “expansion of the government” in any way.

    Further, how is it not an “expansion of the government” to actually pass laws “encouraging multilingualism”?

  12. cheapseats says:

    what are the current penalties that a business might be liable to pay if it were to require that only English be spoken at work?

    I wasn’t aware that there were any laws prohibiting this business policy.

    What variations of English will be allowed?
    Australian?
    British?
    Redneck?
    Boston?
    Ghetto?
    Californian?
    New Jersian?

    How exclusive/inclusive are we going to get?

    Just curious…

  13. rugby_fan says:

    You don’t have to pass a law requiring multilingualism.

    The government decides to not pass a law requiring any language to be spoken in a private business.

    Anyway you look at this its nativist and an asinine stance for businesses or the government to want to do.

  14. BubbaRich says:

    What does an “English only at work” policy even mean?

    “YOU’RE FIRED, FELLER! I heered you speakin’ Spanish or Japanese or sumpin on the phone!”
    “I was ordering you a megaburrito from Taco Bell for the lunch meeting.”
    “I’m still gonna have to make an example out of ya. I can replace you with 3 illegal aliens for the same money, anyway.”

    Price seems to have recruiting the idiot vote down pat, though.

  15. Hank Reardan says:

    It is sad that the Goverment has to pass a law like this.The sad thing is if they did not some one would get a lawsuit slapped on them. But why we are at it ,the government should not dictate what I speak at work or who I hire or if I should have to time and a half or min. wage.I should be between me and the person I hire.

  16. BubbaRich says:

    That’s true, Hank. That way, even if they can’t get money enough to live, you still get a little work out of them for YOUR money before they die.

    BTW, did you listen to Atlas Shrugged as an audiobook?

  17. Jeff Emanuel says:

    The government decides to not pass a law requiring any language to be spoken in a private business.

    Anyway you look at this its nativist and an asinine stance for businesses or the government to want to do.

    Rugby, what are you talking about? This measure is a response to lawsuits brought against employers who require English to be spoken within their businesses. There is no language whatsoever being required by government to be spoken in the workplace — rather, this legislation would prevent government from telling employers what languages had to be spoken in their businesses.

    With regard to your last sentence quoted above, it appears to me to be the opposite. Frankly, I don’t see how in the world you could “look at it” and see a “nativist and…asinine stance for businesses or the government to want to do.” By mandating less regulation? Seriously?

  18. SFrazier says:

    Dr. Price has traded in his Pointed white KKK hat for his congressional suit. This goes against our constitution. Could you imagine if all our expats in other countries were not allowed to speak English. This fool needs someone to run against him in the primary. What a waste of our tax payers money introducing this crap. I thought Pelosi was bad. This jerk backed Romney, we need to get rid of him, our party cant stand another scandal. We need to oust this Klansman.

  19. RuralDem says:

    Oh wait, Rep. Price’s office released that press release, so it might be 100% accurate. I’m sure its not slanted in favor of the legislation in anyway 🙂

  20. LaurenceB says:

    Left to their own devices, humans will communicate in the most efficient language they can. That being the case, it seems to me that an employer interested in efficiency would be a fool to impose an English-only policy. But I happen to be in favor of allowing people to make stupid choices.

    Oh, and it goes without saying that Price’s amendment is a waste of time and an exercise in pandering to nativism. Employers are free to impose these kinds of silly policies already. But if it makes him happy, I’m OK with it.

    That’s my two cents.

  21. LaurenceB says:

    Humorously, as I left the mall the other day I noticed that the Salvation Army stand had a sign that said “Que Dios te Bendiga”. Apparently, the Salvation Army has no English-Only policy for donors.

  22. jsm says:

    So… LaurenceB, rugby, sFrazier, Bubba, and Adam believe that it should be “an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require an employee to speak English while engaged in work” and that employers should not have the freedom to decide what language is used to do business within their company.

    Interesting.

    Government needs to stay out of companies’ decisions on how to do business, so long as they don’t harm anyone.

  23. LaurenceB says:

    jsm,
    You should probably go back and read what I said. My position is that an employer would be stupid to make such a policy, but that he should be allowed to do so.

  24. Mike Hauncho says:

    Speaking a foreign language over the phone or to another member in the office is a seperate issue. All this bill is refering to is that you must be able to speak english to work. What you do with your coworkers or friends is different and does not matter. Don’t confuse the two. The fact that potential employees can sue a potential employeer for not hiring them because they cannot speak English is crazy. At some point you have to protect those who live here before you pander to those who do not.

  25. BubbaRich says:

    Mike:

    I haven’t seen that in this bill yet. I don’t think that it requires you to speak English to work, either. All I’ve seen is Rep Price pandering to people by supporting “English only!” policies at work, without explaining what those policies are.

    And you need to have a better idea of who lives here and who does not. I live in Doraville. Do the other people in Doraville live “here”?

    jsm:

    I think that would be a stupid policy, depending on how you interpret it. Would you allow an employee to speak Spanish or Vietnamese with customers who speak Spanish or Vietnamese? Or with co-workers? Why or why not? How is that clarified in the law?

    It is certainly a waste of time and an exercise in pandering to nativism. It seems like it worked on you, anyway. on Mike Hauncho, too, so maybe that’s enough to get him elected again.

  26. SFrazier says:

    The honorable Erick, do you think it is appropriate for an elected leader to call a taxpaying citizen of your community a profane word

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