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If someone living in the U.S. can't speak English, should they have a job dealing with the public?

I am by no means trying to make this an issue about race, but another question on this site got me thinking. If someone working with the public (doctors office, fast food, grocery store, etc) were not able to speak English, why should they even have that job? I live in a foreign country and I'm expected to speak their native language at my place of employment. Why shouldn't it be the same for everyone else, no matter what country they live in?


Asked by Nanixh at 11:51 PM on Oct. 3, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 30 (42,521 Credits)
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Answers (20)
  • I think if you are going to get into a job where you speak to people (especially on the phone) you should know the language. I can't tell you how many times I talk to someone on the phone and can't understand a word. It's not about racism, it's about doing your job efficiently. When you spend double the time repeating yourself, you not only slow down progress for the customer, you don't get as much done for the company you work for.

    Answer by Kelli1012 at 1:33 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • No. They need to at least learn basic English. In most countries I have lived in the immigrant has to learn the language before gaining full rights and working in particular areas.

    Answer by AugustMidge at 11:53 PM on Oct. 3, 2010

  • Living in Southern California for 22 years of my life, I think that (especially at fast food restaurants) if you can't speak English clearly and comprehend others, then no, you should not be working with the public. I once went to McDonald's when I was pregnant, and I asked for a cheeseburger with no pickles. I got a grilled cheese WITH pickles, they completely screwed up my order because they couldn't understand.

    Answer by SarahLeeMorgan at 11:54 PM on Oct. 3, 2010

  • YES! Working with the public means you have to talk and help. If you dont speak a language that is used, you cannot communicate there fore the public cannot find what they need or get what they need or anything.

    Answer by Joeysmama012709 at 11:55 PM on Oct. 3, 2010

  • yes that would be great but many times they come to country and still not knowing how to speak english .it would be great but we will always have promblems no matter what

    Answer by dutchcanadain at 11:56 PM on Oct. 3, 2010

  • I completely agree with you. The other day our cable went out and I called the company and got a guy who literally spoke like 2 words of English. I was so pissed that I hung up! If you are getting paid to work a job where you deal with the public, it should be YOUR responsibility to make sure you can communicate clearly with the customers and help is not MY job to try and understand what the F you're saying!

    Answer by Ash9724 at 11:56 PM on Oct. 3, 2010

  • Yes. When it comes to customer service, and other similar jobs, the employee should be able to speak enough English to assist the customers.

    Answer by art.diva at 12:08 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • No, no, no. They should not be allowed to work with the public. It gets soooo fustrating. Ordering food and customer service calls are the worst!! They don't understand you so how are they qualifed to do the job??

    America really needs to adopt a 'set language'. I get that people come from all over but it would just make things so much easier!! You go to ANY other country in the world and you are expected to learn their language if you want to communicate with them, why should America not do the same??

    Answer by JuLiAnSmOmMy317 at 8:13 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • Oh please. How is this even a concern? I have worked personally with people with limited English skills...and it wasn't a problem, especially after a week or two of work, they definitely understood everything they needed to get the job done. Honestly, I don't know one human being that lives in the US, or the western hemisphere, really, that doesn't know what a cheeseburger is, weather they speak English or not. It's possible they didn't hear your order correctly, isn't it? As far as the customer service calls, take that up with the company...they outsource those so the people are not living in the US anyways.
    Also, if you are going into a place where there is not one single person that you can understand, it could be that their primary clientele speaks another language and so they are catering to their customer base. If you don't like it, go somewhere else, or lighten up and learn how to say no pickles in Spanish. lol

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 10:24 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • How does that have anything to do with dealing with the public? You HAVE to speak to people when you deal with the public. So someone who works at McDonalds can just ignore me or pretend they don't speak English just so they don't have to deal with me? How does that even make sense?

    Comment by Nanixh (original poster) at 11:55 PM on Oct. 3, 2010