Ethnicity is the term that encompasses a class of people’s racial, religious, linguistic, and even geographical connection and/or traits. A member of a specific ethnic group often shares these traits in common with other members of their ethnic group. Those subject to ethnic discrimination are often exposed to prejudice, ethnic slurs, stereotypes, harassment and other forms of discrimination based on their ethnicity. When such activity occurs in the workplace, ethnic discrimination and harassment should be reported to the proper authorities. This is because both federal law and California state employment law prohibit ethnic discrimination in the workplace.
Federal Law and Ethnic Discrimination in the Workplace
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the federal law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on a person’s national origin, race, color or sex. Furthermore, this law prohibits harassment based on a person’s characteristics as they are related to their perceived or actual membership in a particular ethnic group. Under this federal law, harassment is consider to be one form of prohibited discrimination. Ethnic discrimination can take many different forms. However, the most common types of prohibited ethnic discrimination include:
- Cultural/Physical Traits and Garb: Harassing or otherwise discriminating against a person because of cultural, linguistic or physical traits associated with their ethnic group. This type of discrimination includes harassment and other forms of discrimination based on a dress, clothing or accent that is associated with a specific ethnicity, country of origin, or religion;
- Affiliation: Discrimination against a person because they are affiliated with a specific ethnic group, including membership with a religious organization, or ethnic/culture based organization;
- Association: Harassment and other discrimination because of a person’s relationships, interactions and general association with a person of a particular ethnicity, and/or such relationships/interactions and general association with an entire ethnic group/organization; and
- Discrimination Based on Perception of Ethnicity: Harassment and other forms of discrimination based on a belief and/or perception that a person is a member of a particular racial, religious or ethnic group, regardless of whether such belief/perception is accurate.
Ethnic Discrimination in the Workplace
Under California state employment law, ethnic discrimination is strictly prohibited in the following employment practices/processes:
- The Advancement, Recruiting and Hiring Process: Though ethnic and racial information can be obtained during these processes, such knowledge must not then be applied in a discriminatory fashion;
- Discrimination Claim Filing Process: When an employee files an ethnic discrimination claim against an employer, the accused employer cannot subsequently respond with retaliatory actions such as demotions, firing or other forms of employment termination.
- Compensation and Work Evaluations: The receipt and granting of benefits, compensation and work assignments cannot involve harassment and other forms of discrimination based on that employee’s ethnicity; and
- Classification of Employees: Employees cannot be segregated or classified because of their ethnicity. Classification of employees can occur because of some non-covered trait such as an employee’s skills, and other work capabilities/limitations.
Though discrimination based on ethnicity is explicitly prohibited in the employment context, sometimes a person’s ethnicity and associated religion can prevent that person from being able to carry out a specific job function. When this occurs, an employer has a duty to provide reasonable accommodation for this person’s ethnic practices. However, such reasonable accommodation must only be provided when no undue hardship is caused by the employer’s provision of a reasonable accommodation.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys: Providing the Very Best Legal Representation
Ethnic discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by both federal and California law. Here at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, our team of attorneys in Los Angeles, CA have years of experience and expertise with successfully bringing and defending ethnic discrimination employment lawsuits. If you are an employer or employee that needs professional legal assistance and guidance, you should pick up the phone and contact the LA employment law attorneys here at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today.