Source: California Chronicle
While speaking one´s native language is protected in cases of employment and housing under state law, such protections are not extended to consumers under the state´s civil rights act.
The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination within business establishments, usually to protect patrons from not receiving service. Currently, the Act prohibits business establishments from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved (3-2) legislation authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) to add the use of any language to the list of protections under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
The issue stems from a proposed policy announced last summer by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to suspend players who do not speak English. The LPGA later rescinded the proposal after objections from Senator Yee and over 50 civil rights organizations.
"No one should be discriminated against simply for speaking their language," said Yee. "SB 242 will rightfully add language to the list of protected classes within California´s civil rights act."
Knowing how soft California is, this bill will probably pass. How many of you live and work in Canada or the US? (Raises hand). Imagine nobody spoke English at your workplace? Would anything get done? How many of you at work have encountered someone who can't understand and your work gets slowed down? (raises hand). How many of you have called helpdesk and get someone who can't speak English and you don't get the help you need? (raises hand). How many of you paid thousands of dollars for attending college to find yourself in lecture with a prof you can't understand and you get a C? (raises hand).
It's bad enough as it is already. I worked at an engineering firm where there were many many mistakes caused by language and miscommunication. This isn't a social/human rights issue. It's a business issue. We're talking millions of dollars lost.
The LPGA issue always gets brought up. It's the correct decision and it's too bad the LPGA had to back down. All the PGATour guys know how to speak English so it's not a problem. These girls come to America to play on the American tour, they have to make an effort to learn English. There are millions of dollars at stake here with sponsors and TV money. Let's say you pay alot of money to play in pro-am and you get a girl you can't even talk to? Or a girl wins the event and can't even provide a post-game interview for the TV audience. This all costs a lot of money as sponsors may drop out.
The articles states that : Currently, the Act prohibits business establishments from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Those are all legitimate reasons because none of those things affect your ability to work. But you have to draw the line somewhere and I draw the line at language because it's affects work! If you work for me you have to speak English. You can speak any language outside of the workspace (kitchens, lunchrooms etc...). But if your lack of English affects work, then you're gone.