J Luna
over 6 months ago
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Being "turned down" for a Medical Assistant position for not being Bilingual in Spanish and English

Is it legal in the U.S. for employers and organizations to require you to speak Spanish and English (bilingual) for a Medical Assistant position? Basically, can employers turn you down for a MA position if you are not bilingual? Below is a copy of the exact words (verbatim) of a job posting listed in the Inland Empire area: Job Requirements:

Medical Assistant Diploma Bilingual in Spanish and English REQUIRED (DO NOT apply if you are unable to communicate, interpret, read, and write in both Spanish and English) Team player attitude with a focus on excellent customer service High School Graduate

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Philip Quarrier

I think it's valid if the job needs it. The Inland Empire had 43% hispanic population ten years ago and may have more now. It doesn't have to be your native language if you can do the work. The key is "bilingual". You might have to be able to read or listen in one language and then speak or write the same thoughts and intents in the other language. That's more than just knowing the two languages and it makes you more valuable as an employee.

My son's wife is a non-hispanic American who learned Spanish in New Jersey and uses it to work there with lawyers clients. My wife's daughter learned German at home and Spanish at school in Bolivia and then English here. She's now qualifying as a medical interpreter in Maryland.

5y
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Alyssa Heiner

Hi Jill, It may be that they are in need of someone who is bilingual, but have all other positions filled. I think it is reasonable for them to ask this, especially if it is a heavily Hispanic area. I'm sure there are other opportunities out there though!

5y
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Amanda Fakhreddine

Hi Jill! Since your are in Southern CA, I think a lot of jobs that are customer/patient facing may skew towards people who are bilingual. Did you know that the Murrieta Public Library offers language learning resources ( I think they partner with Mango Languages, which is a language learning app)? It may be an added asset for you, since you already have the experience to be a Medical Assistant!

Here is the link to the Murrieta Library e-resources page, which mentions the language program if you are interested http://www.murrietaca.gov/departments/lib/research.asp

5y
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Jill I'm not sure what state you live in but I am a trained MA and being able to be fluent in Spanish and French only gets me $1.50 to $3 hr more than a regular MA. But yes it does help me get jobs because I have the other languages. They were so helpful as I was a social worker in Miami, Fla for 5 yrs. Don't worry or let it get you down. You are truly a great MA....

5y
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