Originally Posted by JM
That still doesn't mean than every employee (and not only the toilet cleaning lady) will have to master the language. That's all I meant.
You can try it but you'll end up with problems sooner or later.
If you work in Brussels and you deal with clients, suppliers,... and you don't understand Dutch, you have a problem. You can't just say that you'll get a Dutch-speaker on the phone. You can do that once in a while but if you have to do that regularly, you'll be in trouble with your boss sooner or later. The French lady I mentioned earlier experienced this: you need to learn Dutch. If you only speak French, you have to move to the French-speaking part of the country.
Sure, not everybody needs to be able master all the languages but you have to have a good understanding at least. I have colleagues who only speak French but they've had to
take courses and learn enough so that they can follow a meeting in Dutch for example.
Originally Posted by Evita
For example, I work for an international company and the only language I must know is English, I don't even have to know Latvian
Again, Brussels is bilingual BY LAW (Belgium has 3 official languages, our capital city 2), that includes international companies. It's not a matter of what's preferential, it's a matter of what's a legal obligation.
Sometimes, it works out if you can appoint one person to the Dutch-speaking region of the country and another to the French-speaking region with both able to speak English but it's cheaper to find somebody who speaks all three languages.