EXPLAINED: Can job adverts in Czechia seek only native speakers?

For companies, the line between asking for legitimate skills and unfairly discriminating against jobseekers is often blurred: we explain what the law says.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 18.03.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 19.03.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Searching for a job is almost always a daunting and challenging task. What makes a complicated process even more complex is potentially being excluded from a job just because you are not from a specific country and are not a native speaker. The question, though, is whether this is legal in Czechia.

Not native? Don't bother applying

One Expats.cz reader reached out to us about her experiences of discrimination from multiple English-teaching jobs in Czechia just because she is not a native English speaker. Sonia Reimannová, a fully certified English teacher with almost 20 years of experience, told us that during her job hunts, she was turned away from about 25 schools and institutions due to unjust “native-speakerism.” 

“When I was recently applying to teaching jobs in Czechia, I was faced with exactly the same levels of discrimination as back in 2014 when I was desperately trying to land a job in an international school. The Czech education sector, especially the private arm, is far from being different or alternative.”

"Native speakerism is a game of the past and only the most backwards-thinking organisations still fuel this outdated and colonial concept."

Sonia Reimannová, Expats.cz reader and English teacher

Reimannová adds: “To this day, I still have difficulty understanding why professionals like myself are not appreciated. I suppose, as far as I can remember, this is probably something deeply ingrained in our culture.”

What does the law say?

Put simply, explicitly looking for only “native speakers” of a language is against the law.

According to EU law that dates back around 20 years, specifically searching for a “native speaker” in a job advert is “unlawfully discriminatory” because it implies that a person has to be born in a certain country to apply – this is discrimination based on nationality. 

EU law also rules that a language requirement must be “reasonable and necessary” for the job in question and must not be used to exclude workers. Hence, “advertisements requiring a particular language as a ‘mother tongue’ are not acceptable,” according to the EU.

A brief glance at Czech law shows that this country's rules are the same. According to the Czech Labor Code, discrimination in the job market is unequal treatment based on language, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, citizenship, social origin, gender, age, and so on. Thus, job advertisements seeking exclusively “native speakers” or people from a specific country are against the law. 

Requiring only fluency is fine, though

However, in Czechia, can job adverts ask for speakers of specific languages (such as requiring “English speakers only”) or demand advanced levels of a certain language? The answer is yes. 


Expats.cz reached out to lawyer Hračja Grigoryan from specialist law firm Melkus Kejla & Partners for expert comment.

“The Czech Labor Code refers to the Anti-Discrimination Act regarding this matter. If there is a factual reason for a special requirement – such as language – based on the nature of the work or activity performed, and the requirements applied are appropriate for the role, it is not considered discrimination. Therefore, if the candidates are required to speak a specific language for the performance of the job, it is acceptable as long as there is a reasonable justification for it.”

EU law also says that if a job requires a high level of knowledge in a specific language, it is considered a legitimate requirement under the law as long as the employer can justify why it is necessary for the job. 

Put simply, then: requests for “native speakers only” are illegal, but companies asking for advanced or fluent language skills – if demonstrably appropriate – are in the clear. 

What should you do if you feel a job advert is discriminatory?

Jobseekers in Czechia who see a discriminatory job advert should first report it to the Czech Regional Labor Inspectorate, which has an English-language website. They may also contact the Czech Ombudsman, which gives full instructions for submitting a complaint in English.

To complain at a higher level, people may contact the European Ombudsman or, at the highest level, the European Parliament

"Language-based discrimination shows a lack of understanding in language acquisition and education," remarks Reimannová. "Raising awareness is important: Czechs still pretty much follow the trend of the past," she says, hoping that the illegal trend of native-speakerism disappears from job adverts in Czechia.

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