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New National Origin Workplace Discrimination Law in 2015

Employers May Not Discriminate Against Undocumented Workers Who Lawfully Obtain California Driver’s Licenses: Workplace Discrimination

Effective January 1, 2015, the Safe and Responsible Driver Act will allow more than one million unauthorized immigrants in California to obtain a driver’s license. AB 1660 amends the Fair Housing and Employment Act (FHEA) making it a violation for entities to discriminate against individuals with driver’s licenses issued to undocumented workers. This law follows AB 60, enacted last year, which authorized the DMV to issue these driver’s licenses.

The amended FHEA ensures that discrimination against individuals who have this new type of driver’s license is a form of national origin discrimination. If the job does not require a driver’s license, an employer may not require applicants to present a driver’s license as part of the job application.

What is National Origin Discrimination? How Are You Protected?

Although not as obvious, discrimination based on national origin may come in the form of an employer (1) treating an applicant or employee negatively because he or she is a member, or perceived to be a member, of a certain nationality, (2) harassing or mocking an employee due to his or her physical appearance and accent when associated with a type of nationality even if the employee is not a member of that nationality, or (3) hiring, paying, or treating an applicant or employee based on his or her national origin.

The term “national origin” means the country where an individual or his or her ancestors were born, an individual’s physical or language characteristics, and an individual’s ancestry or cultural background.

Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against employment discrimination based on national origin. It applies to companies with 15 or more employees. In addition, the Immigration Reform and Control Act states that any company with four or more employees is prohibited from discriminating against employees due to their citizenship status. In California, the FHEA prohibits workplace discrimination based on an employee’s national origin. FHEA also prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes discrimination or files a complaint. Read more here.

Recent case examples include the Justice Department entering into a $26,000 settlement with a San Francisco bakery that improperly refused a worker’s valid work authorization document because of his citizenship status, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suing AutoZone when a Hispanic employee was subjected to a manager’s outrageous derogatory comments and jokes.

Our Employment Discrimination Law Attorneys Can Help: Contact California’s Premier National Origin Discrimination Lawyers Today

As demonstrated by recent cases all around the country, while national origin or citizenship status discrimination is strictly prohibited, it is still practiced by many organizations. Sadly, many individuals face intimidation and threats of retaliation that may prevent them from reporting employment law violations.

If you suffered discrimination based on your national origin or citizenship status, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates to discuss your claim and legal options. See these other blogs on other forms of discrimination.