National origin discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated differently because of the country they are from, part of the world they are from, their ethnicity, or their accent. National origin discrimination can even occur if someone is treated differently because they look like they are from a different country, even if they are not actually from that country.
Discriminatory acts can include:
- Refusing to hire;
- A different job assignment;
- Refusing to promote;
- Giving unequal pay; or
- Giving unequal benefits, such as vacation or health benefits.
If an employee is harassed because of their national origin, this can also amount to illegal national origin discrimination if the harassment is continuous or severe. Teasing or isolated incidents do not amount to illegal discrimination unless they are severe enough to make the workplace into a hostile environment.
These types of national origin discrimination are illegal in Colorado, and workers are protected by law at both the state and federal levels.
National Origin Discrimination Law in Colorado
Discrimination on the basis of national origin is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.), commonly called “Title VII.” Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, and sex. Title VII applies to the state and federal governments and to private employers with 15 or more employees.
Under Title VII, persons who have been discriminated against by a private employer have the right to file a charge with a field office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After a charge is dismissed, an employee has the right to file a lawsuit in state or federal court.
Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act
In addition to the protections offered by Title VII, Colorado also has its own Anti-Discrimination Act (Co. Rev. Stat. Sec. 24-34-402). The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, age, national origin, disability, and marital status.
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act applies to all private employers, regardless of how many employees they have. However, churches and religious associations are exempt from the Act unless they receive public funding. Under the Act, an employee who has been discriminated against can file a claim with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. If the claim is denied, an employee then has the right to file a private lawsuit.
Colorado National Origin Discrimination Attorneys
If you have been a victim of national origin discrimination, it is important that you contact an experienced Colorado employment attorney as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to help you get reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and even attorney’s fees. At HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, we have experience representing both victims and employers in a wide variety of employment matters, including national origin discrimination claims and lawsuits.
If you are a victim of national origin discrimination, contact an HKM Employment Attorney as soon as possible. You can call us at 303-991-3075 or contact us online for a private consultation.