Often when people think about discrimination in the workplace, they think of discrimination based on race, sex, or disability. However, another serious problem faced by many workers is ethnic discrimination. Ethnic discrimination often gets lumped in with racial discrimination, but the two are different. Racial discrimination has to do with discrimination based on physical traits like skin color or hair type, which can lead to people being classified as members of a certain race. Ethnic discrimination does not deal with a person’s physical appearance, but instead with where the person or his or her family comes from. Sometimes these issues overlap, but not always. Ultimately though, both types of employment discrimination are illegal.
Federal Ethnic Discrimination Law
People who face ethnic discrimination in the workplace may have claims under both state and federal laws. The federal statute that deals with ethnic discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That law does not use the phrase “ethnic discrimination” but it does protect people from discrimination based on “national origin.” Unfortunately, this law only applies to employers who have fifteen or more employees. Thus if you work for a very small business, you may not be covered by the federal law. That does not mean you do not have remedies under state law, though.
The other key issue involving federal discrimination cases is that short and strict deadlines must be adhered to. You have to file your complaint within 300 days of the discriminatory event if you want to proceed under the federal law. This means that it is extremely important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have been a victim of this type of discrimination.
Oregon Ethnic Discrimination Law
While federal discrimination laws only apply if an employer has fifteen or more employees, the state anti-discrimination statute applies as soon as an employer has one employee. Oregon Revised Statute 659A.030 specifically prohibits discrimination based on national origin. This means that an employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your ethnicity; similarly, your ethnicity cannot be a reason for your termination. There is an exception to this law for discrimination that results from a bona fide occupational qualification that is necessary to the normal operation of the employer’s business. This means that if being of a certain ethnicity is actually a legitimate requirement of the job, then discrimination is allowed, but these exceptions are extremely rare.
Contact an Attorney at HKM
The employment discrimination complaint process can be complicated, and a licensed and experienced attorney can make going through the process substantially easier. There are ways for you to be compensated for your loss if your employer discriminates, and to discourage your boss from ever discriminating again. If you may have been a victim of ethnic discrimination, you should contact an attorney at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP as soon as possible. We can help you decide how to pursue your case and answer any questions you might have. We can be reached by phone at (503)389-1130, or you can fill out our simple online form and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.