Language Rights Project

The United States has always been a diverse nation of immigrants, and non- or limited-English speaking individuals continue to be an important part of the American workforce. Sometimes employees who don’t speak English well are treated differently from those who do. This may be a violation of their civil rights.

The Language Rights Project (LRP) is dedicated to combating discrimination against those whose primary language is not English. The LRP challenges language discrimination in the workplace as manifested in practices such as English-only rules, unwarranted English proficiency requirements, and accent discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, among others. To address the lack of bilingual services by government agencies, the LRP utilizes Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, California’s Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act and, locally, via San Francisco and Oakland’s Equal Access to Services ordinances.

The LRP provides individualized assistance and legal counseling to callers via the toll-free, nationwide Language Rights Information Line (1-800-864-1664) with services provided in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and English.  LAS-ELC will gather the relevant facts, consult with attorneys, and provide advice, referrals, and limited representation in cases where an individual’s legal rights appear to have been violated. In addition, LAS–ELC provides advice, counseling and self-help tools, such as fact sheets on national origin discrimination and language rights, as well as self-help materials.