As an American worker, you’re entitled to a hostility-free workplace. Even if you were not born in this country, you’re entitled to freedom from national origin discrimination if you are a citizen or otherwise legal resident of the United States. If you have experienced any type of workplace discrimination because of your national origin, you have the right to file a complaint with Human Resources or take legal action against your employer.
What is National Origin Discrimination?
National origin discrimination is any type of discrimination that is experienced by an individual because of his or her birth or residence in another country prior to his or her employment here in the United States. National origin, like sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability status, is a protected class under RCW 49.60.030.
Harassment in the workplace, wrongful termination, refusal to promote an otherwise qualified individual, refusal to hire an otherwise qualified individual, isolating an employee or group of employees from either the public or other employees within the company, and segregating roles within the workplace based on employees’ national origins are all forms of discrimination that can occur in the workplace. All of these are illegal, unfair, and grounds for an individual or group of employees to file a complaint or seek legal action for the discrimination they’ve encountered.
When the discrimination that occurs within a workplace becomes so prevalent that it emotionally, mentally or physically harms employees or severely limits their capability to perform their job duties or advance in their careers, that workplace may be labeled a hostile work environment. This is not a legal definition – it’s a measure of the severity of the discrimination that has occurred or continues to occur. To be labeled a hostile work environment, a reasonable third party must be able to review the behavior that has occurred within a workplace and determine that it is, in fact, severe enough to harm the company’s employees’ ability to perform their jobs.
Immigration Status and National Origin in the Workplace
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was enacted to protect American workers by making it illegal to knowingly recruit and hire illegal immigrants, requiring employers to be able to attest to their employee’s immigration status, and legalizing certain classes of formerly illegal immigrant workers. Today, employers may ask whether or not an individual is a United States citizen or otherwise authorized to work in the United States. Employers may not ask an interviewee if he or she was born in the United States or that of his or her parents, spouse, or children. In this vein, it is also illegal to inquire about an interviewee’s first language or the date that he or she arrived in the United States.
Hostile Work Environment Attorneys Can Help
If you think your workplace could be classified as a hostile work environment, call HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today at 206-838-2504 to discuss your case and your rights with one of our experienced employment lawyers. Our team at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP understands Washington and federal discrimination laws and can advocate for your rights as an employee. End the discrimination today. Call us now at 206-838-2504.