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What factors must be considered in deciding whether an employer can legally require that only English be spoken by employees while working?

A nursing home in Iowa, whose residents were all English-speakers and all over the age of 80, instituted a rule that required that all employees speak English while working since the residents of the nursing home were elderly and not able to understand any language other than English. Several of the employees of the nursing home were Latino and spoke Spanish fluently. The nursing home informed all employees, both verbally and in writing, of the English-only rule and gave verbal and formal, written warnings to several of the Latino employees who were overheard by management speaking Spanish in the presence of residents of the nursing home. After several such warnings, the nursing home discharged Catalina for continuing to speak Spanish in the presence of residents after she had been given several warnings not to speak Spanish while she was working.

Did the discharge of Catalina for the reason given constitute national origin discrimination? Why, or why not? What factors must be considered in deciding whether an employer can legally require that only English be spoken by employees while working?

Your response should be a minimum of 200 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.

2. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from making any laws with respect to the establishment of religion or that interfere with the free exercise of religion. It is generally agreed that the provisions of the First Amendment apply to all levels of government. The United States Supreme Court has recently ruled that Christian prayers that are said at the beginning of meetings of elected officials local governments do not violate the provisions of the First Amendment that prohibit government from establishing a religion.

Paul is an employee of a local government and is required to attend meetings of the elected officials of the local government, but Paul is an atheist and objects to the Christian prayers that are always said at the beginning of the meeting. Therefore, Paul has asked his supervisor if he can join the meetings of local elected officials after the prayers are offered, but Paul’s supervisor has told Paul that out of respect for the elected officials, Paul must attend the entire meetings. Has Paul been discriminated against on the basis of his religion? Why, or why not?


 

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