You are absolutely correct in exercising caution. Employers should think twice and be very careful about imposing English fluency and English-only requirements in job qualifications and in the workplace, as this may constitute discrimination on the basis of race and/or national origin under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. There are very narrow circumstances where this is permissible and I strongly recommend you do this under the direction of your employment counsel. For guidance, I would encourage you to refer to the following in “Part V: Language Issues” of EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination: “Generally, an English fluency or English proficiency requirement is permissible only if required for the effective performance of the position for which it is imposed. An individual's lack of fluency in English may interfere with job performance in some circumstances, but not in others. For example, an individual may be sufficiently proficient in English to qualify as a research assistant but, at that point in time, may lack the fluency to qualify as a senior scientific writer who must communicate complex scientific information in English. Because the degree of fluency that may be lawfully required varies from one position to the next, employers are advised to assess the level of fluency required for a job on a case-by-case basis. Applying uniform fluency requirements to a broad range of dissimilar positions or requiring a greater degree of fluency than is necessary for a position may result in a violation of Title VII.”
You can use this OFCCP audit checklist to ensure you're doing what is required to maintain OFCCP's regulations including VEVRAA, Section 503, and EO 11246. Or request a demo to streamline your compliance and recruiting efforts.