Discriminating against a person’s national origin, while illegal, is often an unfortunate reality of Pennsylvania workplaces. For a country that prides itself on acceptance, a land of new beginnings, and diversity, there are still improvements to be made in the United States of America. As a nation of immigrants, we have strong laws to protect employees against national origin discrimination in the workplace, and if you have experienced any unlawful employment decision that was based on your ethnicity or country of origin, you have rights. We at HKM Employment Attorneys strongly advocate for our clients’ rights to be treated fairly, with dignity, and with equal respect as other employees. Whether or not you are a citizen of the U.S., you are protected by the law to live and work in peace from national origin discrimination.
Types of National Origin Discrimination
National origin discrimination is prohibited by federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), as well as state law in the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act, and consists of any negative employment decision that is made with the employee or applicant’s national origin in mind. These types of national origin discrimination include the following:
- Refusal to hire
- Denial of equal pay, benefits, or promotion
- Denial of reasonable accommodation
- Refusal to pay overtime hours or paid time off
- Workplace harassment or creating a hostile work environment
- Much more
Language and Harassment
It is considered unlawful for an employer to discriminate based on an employee’s accent unless it materially interferes with job performance. Additionally, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee for a lack of English fluency, unless the position requires the employee to speak fluently. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment includes ethnic slurs and creating a hostile work environment. Employees are also required to report harassment as soon as possible.
Ethnic and Country of Origin Discrimination, Including Perceived Ethnicity/Origin
According to the EEOC, national origin discrimination is the unlawful practice of treating an employee or applicant unfavorably due to his or her ethnicity, accent, or because he or she is from a certain part of the world. Not only is this illegal, but treating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of his or her perceived ethnic background is also illegal. This means that it would be unlawful for an employer who dislikes Muslims or people from the Middle East to discriminate against or harass an employee because that employer thought the employee was from the Middle East, despite the employee actually being from India or somewhere other than the Middle East. If your employer has discriminated against you because of a mistaken identity, they are still breaking the law.
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
It is unlawful for an employer to knowingly hire or recruit an employee who is not a citizen of the U.S. or does not have the authorization to be employed in the country under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. However, it is unlawful for an employer to use this rule to prevent employees of a certain ethnicity or national origin from seeking employment with their company. While relief may be limited to unauthorized workers, it is still in your best interest to speak with an attorney first.
Our National Origin Discrimination Attorneys can Help
Do not hesitate to call HKM Employment Attorneys today at 412-368-5754 if you have been discriminated against for your national origin. Our attorneys are here to help you receive maximum compensation for your damages.