While we have come a long way as a nation, unfortunately discrimination is still a very real part of our society. While many people think of discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, these are not the only type of discrimination present in the workforce. National origin discrimination is still a real problem. Fortunately, there are laws both on the state level and on the federal level that make national origin discrimination in the workplace illegal. If you are discriminated against in a workplace because of your national origin, you may have a claim that can be filed in court and you may be able to seek compensation.
Federal National Origin Discrimination Law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is the key federal law that deals with claims of national origin discrimination. This law applies to any employer in the United States so long as that employer has fifteen or more employees. So if you work for or apply to work for a very small business, you may not be able to make a federal claim. However, if you are discriminated against by a larger employer, you will most likely have a federal claim so long as you follow all of the complicated rules for filing such a claim. There are very strict deadlines under federal law and specific procedures that have to be followed, making legal representation very important in these cases.
Oregon National Origin Discrimination Law
Even if the employer who discriminates against you is too small to be covered by the federal law, you may still have a claim under the Oregon state anti-discrimination statute. That statute makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to hire someone due to his or her national origin. It also makes it unlawful for an employer to fire you because of your national origin. However, if there is some bona fide occupational qualification that makes it necessary for the employer to discriminate, that may be lawful. For example, lets say an employer’s business model was to match recent immigrants from a certain country with counselors who were also from that country because of the shared experience between the two. In that case, it may be lawful for the employer to discriminate in hiring. This is different, from say, a regular retail establishment where an employee’s national origin has nothing to do with his or her ability to do a job.
The anti-discrimination statute, Oregon Revised Statute 659A.030, also makes it unlawful for an employer to compensate you differently from other employees or provide you with different benefits because of your national origin. In other words, you cannot be paid less or get different benefits based on your national origin.
Its also important to note that while there are still time restrictions on when a state discrimination claim can be filed, they are not as strict as the federal time lines. Even if you are out of time to file a federal complaint, you may still be able to file a state claim.
Contact an Employment Attorney
Employment discrimination law is complex. It involves multiple deadlines and burdens, and is best navigated with the help of an experienced licensed attorney like the attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP. We are here to help you and other people who have been discriminated against at work. Please call us at (503) 389-1130, or contact us online by filling out our simple online form.