Accents, language issues in the workplace (Toughest HR question)Need bona fide reason for discriminationBy Andrew Treash08/09/2010|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/05/2010 Question: How can you overcome discrimination against people who speak English with a foreign accent?Answer: Under human rights laws, everyone has the right to be free from employment-related discrimination based on certain grounds. While these grounds vary from province to province, they generally prohibit employment-related discrimination based on someone’s accent. It would be illegal not to hire someone because of her accent, for example, but discrimination could also occur any time a person is treated differently in the workplace because of her accent.Under Canadian human rights legislation, discrimination is permitted if it is based on a bona fide occupational requirement. This means the requirement is essential for the person to perform the job. A simple example from the Canadian Human Rights commission is eyesight for airline pilots. For many other jobs, having perfect eyesight would not be a bona fide occupational requirement and treating someone differently because of poor eyesight would be discrimination. To Read the Full Story, Subscribe or Sign In Remember Me Forgot Password If you are a current Subscriber, please click here to set-up or update your login information.