Laws and Statutes, Spanish Versions of Employee Documents
Many customers ask about translating various professional and corporate documents into Spanish or other languages, and one of the most common questions relates to the existence of legal requisite for translating company-related documents, such has employee handbooks, policy manuals, safety guides, personnel manuals, and other documents, into the native language of the company’s employees. We have spoken to several attorneys, various human resource professionals and read numerous legal journals, blogs, websites and other publications, and it seems that the following summary is the most common response:
Does California Law require issuance and distribution of Foreign Language Documents? Yes and No.
Officially, no. There is no law requiring publication or translation of documents in to Spanish (or another language), that is, in a general business environment (court and legal situations are completely different); however, if an employee has limited English proficiency, also known as LEP, and suffers an injury on the job or violates company policy, the employee may claim to have not fully understood the relevant regulation or procedure.
Unofficially, yes. It is said that if a business has even a few LEPs, the liability falls on the employer to provide relevant materials in the native language.
If there is any doubt, translate important materials. Not all pages or policies are translated in all cases. Some businesses request translation of only safety-related polices or other essential requirements for a specific role or duty within their company.
This information should not be considered as legal advice as we at SES Translators are not attorneys. This blog entry is a simple conversation regarding a complex topic.
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