Ability To Speak English If Required For The Job

Do you ever receive phone calls where you cannot understand the caller?

Have you called a company for help or additional information about a product or process only to find that the person who answers the phone and has been assigned the role of talking with customers cannot speak English well enough for you to actually communicate with them enough to solve your problem?

Well it's not just because we have moved a lot of jobs offshore and outsourced them to foreign businesses. It is also because many immigrants have applied for jobs indicting that they speak English, but once they are hired, it becomes evident that their English skills are not adequate enough to fulfill the job requirements. The hiring company was kind enough to give them a chance to do the job, but upon discovery that they cannot do the job, needs to let them go. In many cases the companies will give the employee a certain period of time to improve their English sufficient to perform adequately, but failing to do so, will require them to be separated from the company.

Unfortunately, the current law penalized the business for giving the employee the chance in the first place. The current law of Virginia says that if you fire someone for their failure to adequately speak English, they can collect unemployment benefits. The employer’s unemployment insurance will rise to pay for those benefits, and that is because unemployment insurance is directly related to unemployment claims on a particular business.

The law also says that if an employee is fired for “misconduct,” they can’t collect unemployment.

So, SB 339 would make the failure to speak or learn adequate English “misconduct” if an employer required English proficiency as part of the job. This only common sense, but it has the Liberals up in arms.

SB 339 would change the law to make it employee “misconduct” for an employee not to speak adequate English to do their job, in violation of a policy of the employer. If an employee is fired for “misconduct,” then the employer is not liable for unemployment benefits.

See Ken Cuccinelli's interview about SB 339 on FoxNews.


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