Employees who are discriminated at work based on their country of origin generally have the right to file claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and in federal and state courts. Most discrimination lawsuits are based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII generally applies if the worker is from a foreign country or belongs to an ethnic group such as being Hispanic or Arab. The law applies to both job applicants and employees who have been hired. Specifically, according to the EEOC, “no one can be denied equal employment opportunity because of the birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics closely associated with an ethnic group.”
The equal employment rights based on national origin also apply due to the employees:
- Association with a person of a national origin group
- Their association with ethnic promotional groups
- Belonging to or attending churches, schools, temples or mosques
- A “surname associated with a national origin group.”
Examples of Title VII violations based on national origin include:
- Employment decisions. This includes hiring and firing, promotions, workplace segregation, and layoffs based on national origin.
- Harassment. Title VII applies to harassment that creates a hostile work environment. This can include ethnic slurs, physical assaults, graffiti, or other conduct based on an employee’s place of birth, ethnicity, dress, accent, language, or culture. Employers need to take proactive steps to prevent and correct harassment that is illegal. Employers must also report harassment “at an early stage to prevent its escalation.”
- Language. Employers can’t base job decisions on an employee’s foreign accent – unless communication in English is essential to the job and the accent interferes with that ability to communicate in English. English fluency requirements are only permissible if they are necessary for the job. English-only rules can only be used if they are nondiscriminatory and needed for job safety or effective job performance.
Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on citizenship – unless that denial is for the purpose of national origin discrimination.
The California Law Offices of Stephen A. Danz and Associates has offices across California to help any worker who has suffered discrimination based on their country of origin, ethnicity, or other factors. We demand job reinstatement, back pay and benefits, and statutory damages. To discuss your discrimination case, call 877-789-9707 or fill out our online contact form.
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