Oftentimes people confuse or use the term “national origin” interchangeably with the word “race”. However, national origin is a broader spectrum that can encompass not just one’s race but specifically the country where a person or their ancestors were born, as well as that person’s physical/linguistic traits, family ancestry and cultural background. When national origin discrimination occurs in the workplace it is because an employer in someway treats an employee in an disadvantageous manner because of that employee’s perceived or actual national origin.
The federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides federal protection against employment discrimination based on an employee’s national origin, religion, race, color or sex. Under Title VII, all companies that have 15 or more employees are covered under the law and are required to engage in lawful non-discriminatory employment practices. Another closely related federal law is the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which applies to all companies with four or more employees and prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their citizenship status, which is often closely related to one’s national origin.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the premier law in California that prohibits discrimination in the workplace because of an employee’s national origin, sexual orientation, religious creed, race, color, physical or mental disability, marital, status, sex, age or mental condition. The FEHA covers a broad range of actors including employers, employment agencies and labor organizations. All forms of discrimination are prohibited under the FEHA, including harassment, as well as employer retaliation against an employee for opposing any discriminatory practices at the workplace. The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against an employee for filing a complaint against an employer with the California Department of Employment and Housing (DEH) or otherwise participating in the FEHA employment discrimination complaint investigation process.
Recognizing National Origin Discrimination in the Work Place
In Los Angeles, national origin discrimination in the workplace is a very serious offense that is punishable by the imposition of employer paid compensation and punitive damages to be paid to the victim. Unlike other forms of discrimination, discrimination based on national origin can be less obvious, but still just as serious and illegal. Typical situations that involve national origin discrimination include:
- Basing recruiting, hiring, payment and promotion decisions on an employee/applicant’s national origin;
- Instituting English-only rules and procedures in the workplace, when such requirements are not required for workplace safety and/or not essential for the employee to perform job functions;
- Discriminating, harassing or belittling an employee because of their physical characteristics and accent when it is typically associated with a specific nationality, regardless of whether such employee is actually a member of nationality that is being stereotyped; and
- Taking any disadvantageous or negative acts or conduct against an employee because they associate with a specific national group, regardless of whether that group represents in any way that employee’s nation of origin.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys: Providing Exceptional Employment Law Representation
Employment national origin discrimination suits and claims can often be difficult to prove and defend. Thus, you will need a top-notch employment law attorney on your side who you can trust to represent you and your interests. Contact the experienced employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Los Angeles, CA so that you can receive the exceptional legal representation that you deserve.