National Origin Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Assisting Workers in the El Segundo Area

National origin discrimination occurs when a job applicant or an employee is treated adversely due to being from a particular country or region, speaking a different language or having an accent, or seeming to be of a specific ethnic background. Often, national origin discrimination claims overlap with religious discrimination and race discrimination. Both federal and California laws prohibit national origin discrimination. At the Calderone Law Firm, our El Segundo national origin discrimination lawyers may be able to help you recover damages if you are a victim of workplace discrimination on the basis of your origin.

Bringing a Claim Based on National Origin Discrimination in the Workplace

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which is the state law prohibiting national origin discrimination, applies to employers that employ at least five employees. In contrast, Title VII applies to employers that have at least 15 employees. Unlike federal law, FEHA does not place a cap on noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress, or on punitive damages. However, there may be particular situations that make it more prudent to bring a claim under federal law, such as developments in Title VII jurisprudence, which makes it imperative to consult an attorney about your case.

FEHA prohibits all forms of national origin discrimination. Discrimination can occur in connection with any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, salary, benefits, promotions, and training. Workplace harassment due to your national origin is also a form of discrimination.

Language discrimination is a type of national origin discrimination. Often, situations arise in which an employer feels uncomfortable with an employee who has an accent or who speaks another language with certain coworkers. A national origin discrimination attorney in El Segundo can advise you on whether rules regarding the language that you speak at work may be illegal.

Under FEHA, employers cannot require workers to speak only English unless they can show a business necessity and provide adequate notice of the rule. Your accent can only be the basis of adverse treatment if the employer can show that this accent materially affects your work performance.

National origin discrimination can occur even when the victim and the perpetrator of the discrimination share a national origin. For example, if you are Mexican American and so is your boss, but your boss will not promote you because she believes that customers will have stereotypes about Mexican workers, you still may have a basis to sue for national origin discrimination.

Your employer is also forbidden from treating you differently because of your marriage to or association with someone of a particular national origin. For example, if you were not hired because the interviewer learned that your wife was from the Middle East, even if you are white, an El Segundo national origin discrimination attorney can help you bring a claim.

You are not supposed to be harassed due to your national origin, or due to an accent or physical characteristics associated with specific nationalities, even if you are not actually of that origin. For example, if you are harassed because coworkers believe that you are Iranian, even if you are Indian, that is workplace harassment. Moreover, your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you by harassing you if you file a complaint or charge of national origin discrimination.

Harassment based on your national origin may count as hostile work environment harassment. A one-off joke or some gentle teasing would not count as harassment. To be actionable, national origin harassment must be so severe or so pervasive that a hostile work environment is created. Conduct that could count as harassment could include the use of ethnic and racial slurs, violence, sexual violence, derogatory remarks and jokes, and derogatory gestures.

Consult an Aggressive National Origin Discrimination Lawyer in El Segundo

If you need to pursue remedies for discrimination at your job, the experienced attorneys at the Calderone Law Firm may be able to provide counsel and representation. There are certain nuances to federal and state laws prohibiting national origin discrimination, including contrasting remedies, and it is crucial to hire an attorney who can help you develop a strong strategy for pursuing damages. You can call us at (424) 348-8290 or contact us through our online form for an appointment.