With the signature of Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen, Tennessee became the first state today to protect the rights of businesses to have English-in-the-workplace policies where there is a “legitimate business necessity.”
The bill, which passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support in the state House and Senate, was designed to comply with rules set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to protect businesses from lawsuits. Federal courts have affirmed that businesses can require their employees to speak English during business operations and for safety reasons.
Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of the Board/CEO of U.S. English, Inc. issued the following statement following the governor’s signature:Today, the rights of thousands of business owners in Tennessee are protected from frivolous lawsuits because they require their employees to speak English in the workplace. This law not only protects the rights of businesses to make the decisions that best suit their company, it reaffirms the important role that English plays in our country and economy.
It is my hope that other states will look to Tennessee and take up such important and necessary legislation. I extend my congratulations and thanks to the governor and legislature for taking this important step and passing the nation’s first-ever English-in-the-workplace law.
The Tennessee law mirrors federal legislation introduced by Rep. Tom Price (GA-6) that would guarantee the freedom for businesses to implement English-in-the-workplace policies. Known as the Common Sense English Act, H.R. 1588 has sixty-five co-sponsors and is currently pending in Congress.