Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act clearly forbids an employer to discriminate against persons of color for reasons of personal or customer preference. Similarly, a qualified job applicant may not be rejected on the basis of linguistic traits linked to national origin. In contrast to racial discrimination, however, an employer has considerable latitude in matters of language, provided in part by a judicial system which recognizes in theory the link between language and social identity, but in practice is often confounded by blind adherence to a standard language ideology. The nature and repercussions of this type of linguistic discrimination are here explored. (Language and law, accent, discrimination, standard language ideology, critical language studies)
Language in Society. My most often cited academic journal article. Click on the image to download the pdf.