Immigrants and their descendants make up the United States of America. People from across the world immigrate to the country to seek better lives and opportunities for themselves and their families. Here in Bellevue, the number of immigrant residents in the city and its environs grew steadily to 39% in 2017 from 5% in 1970.
It is illegal to discriminate against employees or prospective employees because of their national origin. Washington law considers national origin a protected status under RCW 49.60.030. It includes discriminating against an employee based on their association with a group or person from a different country or region, for example, a parent or spouse.
If you face harassment or discriminative behavior at work due to your accent, ethnicity, country of origin, or relation to someone from another country or region, it’s pertinent to talk to a national origin discrimination lawyer. Bellevue has a zero-tolerance policy on workplace discrimination. HKM Employment Attorneys can help protect you.
What Does National Origin Discrimination Mean?
National origin discrimination involves treating someone (a job applicant or employee) unfavorably based on these reasons:
- They come from a particular region or country
- Of their ethnicity or accent
- They appear to come from a specific ethnic background, even if it’s not true
- They are associated with or married to a person from a particular national origin
National origin discrimination can arise even when the perpetrator and the victim have the same national origin. Washington law prohibits discrimination based on national origin in the workplace for any employment aspect, including hiring, pay, job assignments, training, promotions, fringe benefits, firing, layoffs, or any other condition or term of employment.
Additionally, it’s unlawful to harass someone in Bellevue because of their national origin. Such harassment can include offensive and derogatory remarks about their accent, ethnicity, or national origin.
The law also prohibits frequent or severe harassment behavior that creates an offensive and hostile work environment or causes adverse employment decisions like getting demoted or fired.
The harasser or offender can be the victim’s employer, supervisor, co-worker, or even a client or customer. A national origin discrimination lawyer that Bellevue residents trust can help you work out your employment-related issues and seek productive solutions.
What Are Examples of National Origin?
Discrimination, failure to promote or hire an individual, constant harassment, and termination based on an employee’s real or perceived national origin or ethnicity are forms of discrimination.
Harassment is any behavior that makes an employee’s workplace hostile or uncomfortable. It may include teasing, mocking, rude comments about a person’s home nation or region, and other offensive behavior. For example, when one employee tells their colleague that they are not real Americans because they weren’t born in the U.S.
Additionally, any behavior that devalues a person’s work due to national origin also counts as a form of discrimination. It could be employment termination, failure to acknowledge their candidacy for a promotion, or refusing to hire them because of their national origin.
What’s the Difference between Discrimination Based on National Origin and Race?
Race refers to who a person is, while national origin refers to where they come from or were born.
For example, not all black people come from Africa, and not all white people come from Europe. Hence, there are distinctions in the law between the two.
A white person may come from an African country and have their first language, religion, and social customs differ considerably from most Americans. Therefore, if you face discrimination based on these differences in your workplace, a national origin discrimination lawyer in Bellevue could bring a charge case your employer.
However, if you are a person of color born and raised in the U.S. and face discrimination and harassment because of how you look, you could be a victim of racial discrimination. Still, it’s best to consult an employment lawyer before claiming race or national origin discrimination.
How Can You Prove Discrimination Based on National Origin?
In some situations, it’s not inherently illegal to require employees to be American citizens. For instance, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 aims to protect American workers by barring employers from knowingly hiring or recruiting illegal immigrants. However, an employer cannot act to bar individuals from certain ethnic groups or countries seeking employment within their company.
Therefore, the best way to prove national origin discrimination is to consult with an employment attorney and hire them to help.
Why Hire HKM Employment Attorneys in Bellevue?
When you have suffered discrimination in your workplace based on ethnicity, accent, national origin, or other protected status, it’s best to hire a national origin discrimination lawyer Bellevue residents recommend. Reach out to HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case. We understand all aspects of employment law in Washington state and always fight to protect your rights and interests.