Federal Gov’t Sues Wisconsin Company, Says English-Language Requirement is 'Discrimination'

July 2, 2014 - 2:05 PM

Federal Gov’t Sues Wisconsin Company Over ‘Discriminating’ English-Language Requirement

(CNSNews.com) -- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency tasked with enforcing workplace discrimination laws, is suing a private American business for firing a group of Hispanic and Asian employees over their inability to speak English at work, claiming that the English-language requirement in a U.S. business constitutes  “discrimination.”

Judicial Watch reported Tuesday that the government is accusing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “national origin.” The government argues this includes the “linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.”

Irene Garcia, the blog editor and Spanish media liaison for Judicial Watch, called the EEOC’s accusation “ludicrous.”

“That’s ludicrous and an overreaching of government,” Garcia told CNSNews.com. “If you are a private company in the United States, you should be able to require your employees to speak English.”

According to a news release from the EEOC, Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson said the Green Bay-based company’s English requirement is based on “superficial” reasoning.

plastic

(AP Photo)

"Our experience at the EEOC has been that so-called 'English only' rules and requirements of English fluency are often employed to make what is really discrimination appear acceptable. But superficial appearances are not fooling anyone,” Hendrickson said in the release. “When speaking English fluently is not, in fact, required for the safe and effective performance of a job, nor for the successful operation of the employer’s business, requiring employees to be fluent in English usually constitutes employment discrimination on the basis of national origin — and thus violates federal law.”

But Garcia said the ability to speak English is necessary for employees of Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., but that the employees in question “were not able to speak English at any kind of level that would be considered proficient.”

“In this case some English is necessary to communicate with supervisors and stuff like that, and the EEOC just went after this private company because some employees were being marked down for not having English skills. So that doesn’t really make sense,” she said.

Federal Gov’t Sues Wisconsin Company Over ‘Discriminating’ English-Language Requirement

(AP Photo)

Garcia added that the lawsuit, filed on June 9, is just the latest in a slew of attempts by the EEOC and the Obama administration to go after American businesses for so-called “discrimination.” She cited numerous cases in which the EEOC has accused businesses of discriminating by requiring workers to speak English, running background and criminal checks, and enforcing company-wide restrictions on head coverings, including those worn by some Muslim women.

“We’ve seen some decisions that are kind of radical that we haven’t seen in the past, under Republican or Democrat administrations,” she said, claiming the EEOC under the Obama administration is “on a roll.”

Many lawsuits brought by the EEOC subjectively twist the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include things it was never meant to cover, Garcia added.

“We’re seeing a lot of these kinds of law suits using his civil rights law to sue on behalf of all these different causes that I believe violate the spirit of the law,” Garcia explained.

“In terms of religious and language rights under the Civil Rights Act, that’s what the administration is using to offer and extend protects when really and truly there’s no place for them [in the law],” she said.