Springdale Leaders Discuss Employment Verification, English Language Requirements

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Springdale aldermen could revive discussions Monday night on whether to require city workers to become fluent in English.

The city’s Personnel Committee is set to discuss a proposed resolution requiring city departments to carry out background checks on workers and determine whether they are legally able to work in the U.S. Springdale’s Human Resources Department already looks into prospective employees’ I-9 forms, but the resolution would create actual city policy associated with the practice, said Loyd Price, human resources director.

The Springdale City Council took no action on the resolution last month, instead opting to give it back to the Personnel Committee for further discussion.

Although it is not on Monday’s agenda, a question of whether the city should requires its workers to be fluent in English may also appear at the meeting, in the resolution concerning background checks.

In a memo from human resources to city attorney Ernest Cate, it states there are a few concerns regarding employees from temporary agencies being fluent in English.

Mayor Doug Sprouse said Cate is looking into it but he doesn’t believe anything will come of this.

“As long as we have assurances that all of our employees have the proper documentation and if they can perform their job duties satisfactory well then that’s all we got to be concerned about,” Sprouse told 5NEWS last month.

Sprouse said he won’t support it because it’s not a problem the city faces.

Sprouse said the city attorney is concerned with a conflict with federal employment laws regarding when testing workers for English proficiency is allowed and appropriate.

“As long as you can address those safety issues and communicate with your supervisor and make sure so you can perform and beyond that I don’t think we have the right to ask that of anybody,” Sprouse said.

Alderman Kathy Jaycox said she doesn’t think requiring English proficiency is discrimination.

“It’s just a simple formalizing a policy that been there for years, making sure that everybody is clearly understanding exactly what it’s all about,” Jaycox said.