Discrimination; employee's failure to speak English shall not constitute cause of action. (HB1472)

Introduced By

Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) with support from co-patrons Del. Clay Athey (R-Front Royal), Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge), and Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Employment discrimination; speaking English. Provides that discharging or taking other employment-related action with regard to an employee on the basis of the employee's failure or refusal to comply with his employer's requirement that English be spoken or used while at work shall not be deemed to constitute discrimination on the basis of national origin. Currently, employers with more than five but less than 15 employees are prohibited from discharging an employee on the basis of national origin. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/16/2008 Presented and ordered printed 084779468
  • 01/16/2008 Referred to Committee on General Laws
  • 01/24/2008 Assigned GL sub: Professional/Occupational/Adminstrative Process
  • 02/08/2008 Reported from General Laws (16-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/09/2008 Read first time
  • 02/11/2008 Read second time
  • 02/11/2008 Amendment by Delegate Albo agreed to
  • 02/11/2008 Pending question ordered
  • 02/11/2008 Engrossed by House as amended HB1472E
  • 02/11/2008 Printed as engrossed 084779468-E
  • 02/12/2008 Read third time and passed House (70-Y 29-N)
  • 02/12/2008 VOTE: --- PASSAGE (70-Y 29-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/12/2008 Communicated to Senate
  • 02/13/2008 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 02/13/2008 Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
  • 02/20/2008 Failed to report (defeated) in General Laws and Technology (7-Y 7-N 1-A)

Comments

CG2 Consulting, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This bill says that "discharging or taking other employment-related action with regard to an employee on the basis of the employee's failure or refusal to comply with a requirement of the employer that English be spoken or used while at work shall not be deemed to constitute discrimination on the basis of national origin" prohibited by state law.

Since only lawfully present individuals can qualify legally to work, this legislation has nothing to do with the legal status of the individuals involved.

This change in the law would allow an employer to fire someone who has a conversation with a colleague in the lunchroom or takes a cell phone call from a relative while on a break.

The law in Virginia, as an employment at will state, is that an employer can discharge an employee for no reason as long as the reason isn't discriminatory based on a prohibited classification. The law should remain unchanged.

VirginiaImmigrantAdvocacy, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This bill authorizes small businesses to discriminate against lawfully present individuals whose first language is not English by defining discrimination not to include action by employers to fire someone for speaking a language other than English in the workplace.