Multilingual job listings required?
August 10, 2009 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Discrimination filter: Must a company which has both an english and a spanish version of its website have job postings in both languages? Details follow.

I work for a business that provides a service to companies in the United States and Puerto Rico. Business is conducted in english in the continental US and mostly (though not completely) in spanish in Puerto Rico, as may be obvious. We need to know if we are legally required to put job listings in both languages on both versions of the site, regardless of the location we are hiring. To date, all of our job listings are in english and are only linked on the english version. The majority, if not all of the people we have hired in Puerto Rico were recruited through an employment agency, if that matters.

You are not our/a lawyer and other standard disclaimers apply, of course.
posted by Aleen to Law & Government (7 answers total)
You really need to consult a lawyer.
posted by hermitosis at 2:24 PM on August 10, 2009

IANAL but Tom's Hardware is in a bunch of languages most likely doesn't list ALL their job openings in ALL languages.
posted by chrisalbon at 2:30 PM on August 10, 2009

I cannot answer your question directly. But assuming you have a relatively large pool of bilingual English-Spanish folks around the company who are translating things as it is, why not? The best applicants for the position may, in fact, be waiting out there or skipping this opportunity for a language-based reason, and there's no way you'd know about it if they never applied. There may be other companies who do offer bilingual applications/job postings in your field, but which have higher expenses getting the postings out as they may not have the bilingual experience yours why not take advantage of this rather unique skill your company has?
posted by mdonley at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2009

The United States has no official language. Puerto Rico has two official languages—English and Spanish—but I can't find anything that indicates that private businesses are required to conduct business in both languages. You should use some of your contacts in Puerto Rico to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable about this issue.
posted by rtha at 2:54 PM on August 10, 2009

You need to get an employment lawyer right away.
posted by The World Famous at 2:55 PM on August 10, 2009

In what state is your business? Call up your local Department of Labor offices - both the State on and the Federal one. There should be hotlines set up for businesses to ask questions like these. It seems like a pretty simple one to answer.

I know that if you have a lot of spanish-only-speaking employees, then your human resources materials may have to be bilingual, but I don't know about the hiring part.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2009

You're not going to get an answer that you can use with certainty here, since they will all come with the disclaimer IANAL/IANYL, and for this type of thing, you need certainty. Your company surely has access to an attorney, such as the one that helped set up the business in the first place? (assuming the business is new/small) Jabberjaw's suggestion is good, if for some reason you can't talk to your own attorney.
posted by ishotjr at 6:56 PM on August 10, 2009

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