Discrimination Based On Language: How Does It Look Like?

Language discrimination is the unfair treatment of individuals on the basis of their speech characteristics, including syntax, vocabulary, and accent. Discrimination based on language also includes the inability or ability of an individual to use a certain language. This is considered a type of national origin discrimination, which means language discrimination is also forbidden by law. Unfortunately, there is still language discrimination at workplaces even though the law forbids preferring one language over other.

Company Language Policies

While policies are typically standard in organizations throughout the country, there are various companies with certain requirements they want to implement which might stray from the usual policies and might thread towards discrimination. These policies might put certain employees at a disadvantage due to their religion and nationalities.

The major example of such policies is the requirement of speaking English at workplace. Various organizations recruit bilingual employees, English not being their first language. When there are various employees sharing a common language, they might speak in their native language. This might create issues for them. Since language is a major part of an individual’s nationality, companies with policies that prevent their employees from speaking their native language might direct towards discrimination.

Language discrimination also includes employers only hiring native English speaking employees. This, however, also creates a language barrier if they want to expand internationally. This language barrier can be eliminated with the help of language service providers, as well as with the help of bilingual employees.

Tips for Employers

In order to avoid language discrimination on the basis of nation origin, employers can follow these tips:

Avoid implementing the policy of restricting a certain language to be spoken at the workplace. While it is ideal for you to encourage employees to speak the same language to enhance communication throughout the workplace, banning native languages is not a solution.

Utilize the assistance of experienced interpreters to break this language barrier and ensure there is enhanced communication between all employees. This is especially in the case if there is a foreign worker who can communication and interact better in their native language. This will also enhance diversity at your workplace.

Ensure that all employees are trained not to ask questions or make fun of anyone with a different accent or vocabulary in order to avoid language discrimination.

Train all managers and supervisors to realize complete English fluency might not be integral and shouldn’t become the basis of appraisals of foreign employees.

These tips can help in ensuring language discrimination is reduced and eliminated from your workplace and all employees have a safe place to work at.


It is essential to seek assistance from experienced interpreters and translators to overcome any language barrier that might exist in your workplace. If you are looking for high quality professional language services, feel free to contact Equal Access. Our expert interpreters and translators are qualified and can help in breaking communication barriers within the workplace, as well as with international partners and customers.

Scroll to Top