Employment Discrimination Attorney Top Answers: How do I stop my boss from harassing me because I’m Thai? Is it legal to give better jobs to natural born Americans? What should I do if I’m fired because of my national origin?
I think if we all think back to our childhood packed lunches, there is a Del Monte fruit cup prominently figured in that memory. I remember opening the pull top to the can – back then they were all metal cans, no plastic cup. I remember being so happy when I got to the one half cherry that would be in the can. And, on the rare occasions that I’d get a second half cherry, boy, that was a great day. As a precursor to my current life as an employment discrimination attorney, I always wondered why the prejudice against cherries. Why only one token cherry? Clearly, this was an injustice to cherries and kids opening their Lee Majors Million Dollar Man or Star Wars lunch boxes.
Well, sometimes it takes karma a little long to catch up, but it always gets there. It appears that Del Monte did not only discriminate against cherries, but also discriminated based on national origin. According to the complaint, Del Monte’s Hawaiian subsidiary used a staffing company, Global Horizons to bring Thai male nationals to work at pineapple farms by promising steady, high-paying agricultural jobs along with temporary visas allowing them to legally live and work in the United States. But, when they arrived, their salaries were cut, repayment of debt for alleged travel costs were taken from their paycheck, and their passports were confiscated. When these Thai workers complained of the unfair treatment, they were threatened with deportation. Although Global Horizons was primary responsible for the mistreatment and discrimination of the Thai employees, the national origin discrimination lawsuit alleged that Del Monte’s farms participated in the conduct.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.99, national origin discrimination is defined by treating workers unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world or because of the employee’s ethnicity or accent. Most people understand that national origin discrimination laws prevent employers from taking adverse actions against an employee, including hiring, firing, designating pay rate, assigning types of jobs, promoting, demoting, training, and so on. Additionally, it is unlawful to harass a worker based on national origin. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission posting on national origin discrimination: “Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s national origin, accent or ethnicity.…The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.” Or, in the case of Del Monte, the employer’s staffing agency.
To settle the claims against just it – while separate claims remain against Global Horizons and other farms that it placed Thai employees – Del Monte agreed to pay $1.2 million to be distributed amongst the workers. In addition, as part of the settlement, Del Monte also has, among other requirements, agreed to:
- Establish procedures to make sure that farm labor contractors create and inform workers of policies and procedures prohibiting discrimination in a language they understand;
- Establish procedures for farm labor contractors to provide notices to the employees about their Title VII rights to be free from national origin and other forms of unlawful
- Educate all workers on how they can make discrimination
- Conduct audits to make sure that farm labor contractors are not discriminating
- Train its bosses, managers, supervisors, and upper level employees on the employer’s requirements under Title VII; and
- Keep records.
Somehow, I cannot help but thinking that Del Monte could have avoid all of this by just giving me a few more cherries in every fruit cup.
If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you based on your national origin (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Asian, Thai or even American), you may have a legal claim. To find out if you have a legal claim for national origin discrimination, your best option is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a national origin discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
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