“National origin” is the term that encompasses one’s race, the country that they and/or their ancestors were born, and also a person’s linguistic, cultural, religious and physical traits. Essentially, national origin includes one’s family ancestry and cultural background as they relate to the nation in which the person was born. When discrimination based on a person’s national origin occurs in the workplace, including harassment, and other negative treatment because of their perceived and/or actual nation of origin, the employee may be able to remedy this under both state and federal law.
Both the federal government, as well as the state of California, take national origin discrimination in the workplace very seriously. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on an employee or job applicant’s national origin. In LA, this law applies to all employers who have 15 or more employees. Here in California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on a job applicant or employee’s perceived or actual national origin. All types of discrimination are prohibited under the FEHA, which includes harassment based on national origin. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who makes any workplace discrimination public knowledge.
National Origin Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment Claims
Harassment and discrimination in the workplace can take a variety of forms. However, some of the most common types of national origin employment discrimination include:
- Basing employment decisions such as the hiring, recruiting, payment and all other employment decisions on an employee or job applicant’s national origin;
- Putting English-only procedures and rules in place at the workplace, especially when these procedures are not necessary for employees to be able to perform employment duties, and are not necessary for workplace safety;
- Stereotyping, belittling or physical/verbal attacks against employees or job applicants because of their national origin; or
- Taking any other negative actions against an employee or job applicant because of their national origin.
Hostile work environment claims can be brought under both federal and California state law for any harassment that has occurred in the workplace. In Los Angeles, hostile work environment claims allege that an abusive and hostile work environment has been created because of harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace. Five elements must be proven in order to illustrate that a hostile work environment exists as a result of national origin discrimination. These elements require that:
- The employee or job applicant is part of a protected group ie. discriminated against because of national origin;
- The employee or job applicant experienced unwelcomed national origin-based harassment in the workplace;
- The harassment was based on the employee’s actual or perceived nation of origin;
- The national origin harassment was pervasive enough to create an abusive work environment that affected the conditions of the workplace and employment; and
- The employer is legally responsible for all actions of employees that were taken during the normal course of employment.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys: Providing Top-Notch Legal Representation in Discrimination Suits
National origin discrimination in the workplace is illegal and very serious. Thus, if you are a victim of such discrimination, you should contact a skilled employment lawyer to help you with your case. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Los Angeles, California for all of the legal representation, assistance and advice that you need for your workplace discrimination suit.