Is It Ever OK to Require Job Applicants to be Bilingual?

by Mammoth Team on October 21, 2015

Q: When we post job ads, can we state, "Bilingual in English/Spanish is a must"? Our ads currently read, "Bilingual in English/Spanish is a plus.”

A: If speaking Spanish is an essential function of the job, then you may certainly say that being bilingual is a requirement and consider only Spanish-speaking applicants for the role. In general, there is nothing discriminatory about requiring that applicants know an additional language, provided that speaking the language is actually something that is necessary for them to perform the job.

By “essential function” and “necessary,” we mean that the job can be performed only by someone with knowledge of Spanish. If an individual who does not speak Spanish could successfully perform the essential functions of the role, then we recommend saying that being bilingual is a highly preferred skill for the position.

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Topics: Compliance, Best Practices

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