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Can Job Descriptions State Bilingual Is Required?
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Talent Management

Ask HR: Can We Say That Being Bilingual Is a Requirement?

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, one of your employees stumps you with a question you haven’t heard or considered before. The pros at the HR Support Center receive hundreds of questions each day on a variety of topics from HR policies and procedures to compliance regulation.

Below is a question on posting job ads and expert advice from HR On-Demand, one of the features available to Paycor’s HR Support Center subscribers.


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.”

Answer from HR Pro:

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.

This information is not intended as legal advice. Please consult your attorney or advisor with questions.

The content is provided by the experts at HR Support Center. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Paycor’s HR Support Center and HR On-Demand.

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