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Best Ohio Attorney Answer: Is it national origin discrimination when my employer treats me differently because of the language I speak? Can my boss enforce policies that they only apply to one race? Is my employer allowed to single me out because of my accent? How do I find the best wrongful termination lawyer in Ohio?

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Our employment discrimination lawyers frequently handles allegations of discrimination or wrongful termination based on race and national origin discrimination, and the toughest questions to answer usually deal with an employer’s policy that seems like it was meant to be written and enforced within the bounds of the law, but in effect, the policy effectuates bigotry or prejudice on the job. The employer’s answer is to deny liability, but the employee ends up facing the effects of harassment or retaliation based on race.

As our national origin attorneys have blogged about before, your job cannot lawfully enforce English fluency rules except if the company can demonstrate that such a rule in needed to make sure the effective performance your position. Furthermore, English-only requirements can only be put in place by your boss if required to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the business. Every employer that wants to fit within these exceptions facing a large burden. Even if the exceptions may apply, additional problems can arise based on how the policy was applied, and the justification for creating the policy in the first place.

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Take for instance this case of race and national origin discrimination: one California based health care facility learned how costly questionable policies or discriminate enforcement of policies can be when they shelled out $975,000 in settlement for claims of race and national origin discrimination made by Filipino employees. According to the Filipino employees at Delano Regional Medical Center, the company began to selectively enforce an English only language policy sometime in 2006.

In this case, the company used their English only policy to single out or target Filipino employees if they were found to be speaking Tagalog, or other variants of Filipino languages. Additionally, the employees stated that even while speaking English they were treated negatively because of their accents. The allegations in the complaint also stated that Spanish speaking employees who failed to abide by the policy were not treated as harshly, if at all. Treating employees differently, or more harshly, based on race is an example of disparate treatment, and as we’ve blogged about before, it is unlawful for an employer to make employment decisions based on race, treat an employee of one race differently than an employee of a different race, or use a neutral policy in a way that results in unfair treatment.

The laws in the state of Ohio, specifically, §4112.02 makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to “discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against [an employee] with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment” based on the employee’s race, color, or ancestry. Ohio’s law is meant to emulate a similar Federal statute, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment on the basis of race.

Just because tough questions are posed, doesn’t mean the answers are impossible to find. Even though bosses and employers seem like they can evade liability by hiding behind policies or attempting to justify race discrimination, muddy waters can be made clear with the help of a good race and national origin discrimination attorney.

If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you based on your national origin (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Palestinian, Syrian, Asian 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.


The materials available at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “How do I …”, “What should I do …,” “Can my boss discriminate against me because I’m (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Russian, Palestinian, Syrian, Japanese)?” or “I was fired for my religious beliefs. What can I do?”, it would be best for to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular religious discrimination or other employment law issue or problem.

Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.

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