February 16, 2016

Instruction not to speak Russian at work is not race discrimination

In the context of the employer’s activities, which comprise carrying out animal testing, and the stringent security requirements arising from this, the Tribunal, endorsed by the EAT, considered it was reasonable for the employer to request the employee to cease speaking in her native language in order that conversations in the workplace could be understood by the English speaking managers. This was further enhanced by the fact that the employee had been acting suspiciously.

This case demonstrates that, if an employer has a reasonable and justified reason to require an employee to speak English, unrelated to nationality, it will not be discriminatory to require this.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

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