Discrimination can come in different forms and be based on an employee’s gender, race, or even religion. There is another kind of discrimination that is rampant in our workplaces and even sweeps across several government agencies, and it is called national origin discrimination.
National origin discrimination happens when a person is denied certain rights due to his or her country of origin. Although not often talked about, national origin discrimination is increasingly becoming a common practice in the American work environment.
It is not unusual to see that some employees are told to “go back to their huts,” while some others are said to come from “shithole” countries.
National origin discrimination, according to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, involves treating of employees or job applicants unfavorably because of their ethnic background or origin. Under the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination statutes, this form of harassment at work is prohibited and it creates a hostile work environment.
Is National Origin Discrimination Illegal?
Absolutely. The fact that this unfortunate situation is almost becoming a norm at our workplaces does not mean the law is silent about it. The fact that a person does not come from America or has Hispanic or African origin should not put such an individual at an economic disadvantage.
Protections are available both through the Kansas statutes and through the federal Civil Rights Acts of 1964, which declares that some, though not all, forms of harassment are illegal. In terms of both state and federal laws, there are certain conditions that must apply.
The first is that, for any form of harassment to be illegal, it must be based on a person’s membership in a protected class. Therefore, if a person faces harassment due to his or her accent, skin tone, or country of origin, such harassment is unlawful.
Harassment becomes unlawful under any of these two conditions:
- If the resistance of such offensive conduct would result in the termination of an individual’s appointment and the forbearance is a condition for retaining one’s appointment.
- If the offensive conduct is severe enough to create an unpleasant or hostile work environment.
Harassment Creates Hostile Work Environment
The second condition fulfills the definition for what is called ”hostile work environment harassment.” What makes this illegal is that it is recurring, severe, intimidating, hostile, and pervasive. While a mild joke about the idiosyncrasies associated with one’s origin may not be illegal, a recurring scornful remark about an employee’s accent is.
Knowing when this fine line of legality has been crossed might not be too easy for you as an employee. Contacting the Kansas City area office of the Equal Opportunity Commision can help you determine your rights in the workplace while speaking to an experienced attorney can provide guidance in filing a harassment claim.
Filing a Harassment Claim
Harassment from a superior is usually the most common situation that occurs at business establishments. Harassment also can come from colleagues, subordinates, or even non-employees at the place of work. A person can legally make a harassment claim against these people under some circumstances, most especially when the employer is aware of it and refuses to take any corrective measures to address the issue.
Have Questions? Speak to a National Origin Discrimination Attorney in Kansas City Today
If you suspect your employer discriminated against you on the basis of your national origin, take legal action and contact HKM Employment Attorneys. Our employment attorneys are ready and able to help.