Legality of LPGA English Language Requirement May Hinge on Connecticut Case

The LPGA’s recent news that it would require its players to speak English certainly caused a stir in the sporting world and beyond.  The reaction of most was “can they do that?”

According to Alan Shipnuck’s article on, the answer to that question hinges largely on a high-profile Connecticut case.  That case arose from a sheet-metal factory that required its workers to speak English.  Attorney Steven Jacobs, who represents the sheet-metal workers in that case, explained the body of law on this topic:

Over the last 10 years, there have been a number of decisions in this area, and the courts have consistently decreed that it is permissible for an employer to mandate English-only for two narrow reasons: safety — air-traffic control being an obvious example — and efficiency — such as telephone customer service…

The United States Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the topic.

It is hard to believe that the LPGA can fit its rule under the heading of safety or efficiency.  Rather, the rule – as pointed out by Erik Kuselias on ESPN radio – likely stems from the LPGA’s monetary interests and development of sponsorship opportunities.

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