If They Can’t Speak English, It’s the Employer’s Call

John Fund’s piece on the efforts by some House Democrats to force organisations like the Salvation Army to hire people who can’t speak English (or won’t do so all the time on the job) is a good reason why I have lost faith in the whole "anti-discrimination" portion of our laws.

Having run a business, I think it’s the employer’s prerogative to hire whom they see as the most fit for the job intended.  That includes the Salvation Army.  On the other hand, I think that employers who make employment choices for reasons other than performance will pay for their decisions.

As an example, in the late 1960’s my father opened a fabrication shop in West Palm Beach.  Part of his workforce were two Cubans, one who spoke no English and one who acted as an interpreter.  (It was a small shop.)  Needless to say, Spanish was spoken on the job, although my father wasn’t known for his progressive views.

But the work got done.  The one who spoke no English was a veterinarian in Cuba, but couldn’t pass the State of Florida’s exam to practice his profession.  For us he did spray painting and, as painters are wont to do, painted just about everything possible.  His work was good.

Above: a sample of his work, painted and ready to be loaded for shipment.  Behind the crane is the UPS facility.  Unfortunately our painter’s enthusiasm for his work didn’t consider the direction of the wind, so from time to time the cars and vans parked at UPS got an unwelcome paint job.

An employer that wants to get the job done will work with situations such as this, and rest assured they do it every day.  Even churches are getting in on the act.  My church has two greeters whose command of English isn’t the best, but they’re great Christian people, they’re friendly and they look sharp.

It’s time to let employers make their own choices–and suffer the consequences when they hire people unwisely who won’t do the work.

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