ProEnglish testifies to US Civil Rights Commission about English-on-the-job rules
ARLINGTON, Va.—“We welcome the opportunity to testify today to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about employer English-on-the-job rules and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) policy of targeting such rules for prosecution under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,.” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish, a group that advocates making English the official language of the United States.
“In a nutshell we believe the EEOC is acting illegally and abusing its statutory authority by prosecuting employers with English-on-the-job rules,” McAlpin charges. “In filing these lawsuits the EEOC is not only violating the rights of employers to run their businesses, it also is violating the rights of employees to work in a safe, non-threatening work environment,” he adds.
“The EEOC bases its policy on its assertion that there is a ‘close connection’ between language and national origin. But in today’s world a person’s primary language is rarely an essential national origin characteristic,” McAlpin says.
“The view that the EEOC’s definition is wrong is not ours alone,” McAlpin adds in his testimony, “it is also the overwhelming view of the courts.”….“In thirty-five years of court cases there has not been a single ruling supporting the EEOC’s interpretation that was ultimately upheld, or which is controlling: not one that supports the EEOC’s language equals national origin formula,” McAlpin says.
He cites that as the reason the EEOC recently settled its lawsuit against the Salvation Army that left the Army’s English-on-the-job policy intact.
McAlpin’s testimony underscores that courts have long recognized an employer’s right to set conditions of employment, including what employees can say on the job,-- a right protected by Title VII itself.
A complete copy of McAlpin’s written statement to the US Civil Rights Commission with Exhibits is available on the ProEnglish website: www.proenglish.org