Braden Beard

91 Texas L. Rev. 1495

PDF Document

In this Note, Mr. Beard discusses the legality of accent preferences and English-only rules.  Part I of this paper lays out the legal framework for these national origin discrimination claims.  Part II tells the stories of several plaintiffs who challenged English-only rules and accent-based hiring decisions.  Part III argues that many courts are doing a great disservice to the goals of Title VII in the way they treat these claims.  Part IV explores the harm caused by English-only rules and accent preferences based on the link between language and accent and one’s national origin.  To many immigrants, language and accent are very much a part of who they are, and are not as mutable as courts generally assume.  By forcing employees to cover their accents and native languages, employers attack and cause serious harm to the national origin identities of those employees.  Part V argues that after recognizing the severity of that harm, courts should analyze these claims differently and scrutinize employers’ business justifications more closely.