The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Wisconsin Plastics charging the metal and plastic products manufacturer with violating federal law by firing employees because of their national origin.
All the employees at the Green Bay company had received satisfactory ratings on their annual performance evaluations.
The EEOC is seeking lost wages and compensatory and punitive
damages for the employees as well as an end to discriminatory practices.
“Our experience at the EEOC has been that so-called ‘English only’ rules and requirements of
English fluency are often employed to make what is really discrimination appear acceptable,” said
EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson. “But superficial appearances are not
fooling anyone. When speaking English fluently is not, in fact, required for the safe and effective
performance of a job, nor for the successful operation of the employer’s business, requiring
employees to be fluent in English usually constitutes employment discrimination on the basis of
national origin — and thus violates federal law.”