Language Barriers are Problems Faced by Employers in Today’s Economic Workforce

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The modern workplace does not consist solely of employees whose native language is standardized English. In fact, within recent years there has been a large influx of people whose first language is Spanish. While it is not legally mandated that an employee speaks English within the workplace, it is generally left to the discretion of the employer, provided the policies do not violate equal opportunity regulations. However, employees do not necessarily have to comply, unless specifically spelled out in policy, and can speak their native tongues if they choose to. Currently, there are no (or very few) national incentives for people who do not fluently speak English, or do not have English as their primary language to do so in the workplace. This can- and often does- pose a problem, especially when dealing with a customer base (and coworkers) whose primary mode of communication relies on the fluency of English. To combat this problem, there are a number of things that a company can do so that the use of English is encouraged. This paper shall illustrate some of the techniques/tactics an employer can utilize to urge employees to converse in English. However, before these can be identified, certain current issues need to be addressed. A problem that arises is that the United States does not have a national language; therefore there are no laws that can constitutionally enforce its use. On top of this, according to Equal Opportunity employment regulations, individuals cannot be discriminated based on their national origin. People argue that this offers support to their right to speak non-English languages within a business. On the flip side, it can be argued that, in this post-911 world, people are put off when they’re aroun... ... middle of paper ... ...y would be if that person exhibited an adequate fluency with English and, to the comfort of the customers, showed a willingness to adhere to the company’s common language. In conclusion, language barriers are problems currently faced by employers in today’s economic workforce. While the United States does not have a national language, it is generally expected for an employee to speak and understand English. Some ways to solve the problems that arise from this, such as tension between English speaking employees and non-English speaking Employees or non-English speaking employees and clientele, are incentive plans or workshops. It is imperative for an employer not to blur the line between doing what is necessary and violating the rights of the nation’s citizens. While it may take time to remedy these issues, in time I believe language issues shall be resolved.

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