Bredesen signs English-in-the-workplace bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed a bill declaring that it is not discriminatory for employers to establish English-only policies where there are legitimate business reasons for them.

Federal courts have ruled that employers can require workers to speak English when it is for a business or safety reason but not at other times, like when they are on breaks.

Tennessee Human Rights Commission Director Beverly Watts has said the new bill may create problems for employers because it gives the impression that broad English-only policies are acceptable.

Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said the governor signed the measure because it does not change Tennessee law and it contains unrelated employment protections for volunteer rescue squad workers.

The bill states that those workers cannot be fired for being late to work or missing work because they were responding to an emergency.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Michele on Jun 23, 2010 at 10:04 PM
    It is about time our government stands up and requires those who want come to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to learn English!! If you were to move to France or Germany, you would have to learn the language there if you wanted to survive. Why should we as Americans be forced to learn another language to communicate in and place that is predominantly English work place. I could understand if I was going into a traditional Mexican restaurant that it would be easier if I spoke Spanish but when I go to McDonald's....why should I have to know Spanish to order a Big Mac if I am in Knoxville, TN, Miami, FL, or Los Angelas, CA?

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