Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm

National Origin Discrimination

National Origin Discrimination

Helping Fight For Ohio’s Diverse Workforce

In cities throughout Ohio, the workplace is now more diverse than ever it has ever been with native-born workers working alongside immigrants employees of a vast number of national origins. Unfortunately, since post-9/11 and recent attacks around the world, anti-immigrant atmosphere and national origin discrimination have become more widespread and prevalent across Ohio as well as across the United States.

Under Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, it is illegal for any employer to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s national origin or ethnic background. These employment laws expressly prohibit national origin from adversely impacting decisions to hire, fire, promote, demote, set compensation and other terms and conditions of employment. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, our attorneys help employees protect their rights every day throughout Ohio.

Understanding Employee Protections

Whether an employee or job applicant’s ancestry is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Dominican, Polish, Irish, Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Iraqi, American Indian, or any other nationality, that person is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else. Our attorneys also protect the legal rights of workers from Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, or anywhere in Latin America. Under these national origin employment laws, your boss, manager, and/or supervisor cannot discriminate based on the fact or even belief that an employee is married to or associated with someone of a national origin group; is a member of a specific ethnically related organization or group; attends a school, church, temple or mosque generally associated with a particular national origin group; or has a surname associated with a national origin group.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has stated: “National origin discrimination means treating someone less favorably because he or she is from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because it is believed that he or she has a particular ethnic background. National origin discrimination also means treating someone less favorably at work because of marriage or other association with someone of a particular nationality.”

Further, the EEOC “defines national origin discrimination broadly as including, but not limited to, the denial of equal employment opportunity because of an individual’s, or his or her ancestor’s, place of origin; or because an individual has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.” See:

What Does Origin Discrimination Look Like?

Employers find a variety of ways to discriminate based on national origin. A few examples of national origin discrimination include, but are not limited to, when a boss or manager makes ethnic slurs; when a company refuses to interview people with ethnic-sounding surnames on their applications or resumes; when a supervisor denies the opportunity for anyone with an accent to work with the public and instead relegates them to “back of the house” positions out of public view; when an employer pays employees with certain national origins less than employees of other national origins; when a boss or business owner creates, promotes or knowingly allows an environment that is hostile based on a person’s national origin. Any adverse action against you based on your national origin is illegal.

You should definitely consult with a national origin employment law firm if you have come home from work thinking one of the following:

  • I was wrongfully fired because my boss does not like my accent.
  • My regional manager won’t promote me to an opening in another store because he wants me to stay in a Hispanic neighborhood because I’m Puerto Rican.
  • I am harassed by my supervisor at work because I am Arab.
  • I get paid less than other workers on the job because of my national origin. I’m Mexican.
  • My job enforces an English only policy even when customers are not around.
  • My manager won’t stop making fun of me because I’m Indian even though I complained to HR.
  • The restaurant that I work at will only let Asian employees work in the back or the house and away from customers.
  • My boss does not like Hispanics and Russians.
  • I was turned down for a job because I’m not a U.S. citizen.
  • I was fired when my boss found out my wife was Puerto Rican.
  • I was removed from an account because the client does not like Mexicans.

Because we know that many clients are not able to afford the costs of litigation up front, we take on more cases on a contingency fee basis than most firms. Contingency fee agreements mean that the client need not pay any fee for legal services unless and until our employment attorneys recover money and/or results on your national origin discrimination claim.

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National Origin FAQs

Here are a few of the most common questions we get around National Origin discrimination and what it looks like:

Can My Job Have English Only Policies? Can My Boss Tell Me That I Can’t Speak Spanish At Work?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: The general rule is that an English only rule is likely to be a problem on most jobs, but it is not always unlawful discrimination. An employer is allowed to put English only and English fluency policies and requirements in place if English is necessary to perform the job effectively or safely. An “English-only rule” can never be put into place simply for discriminatory reasons. Your boss or manager also is not allowed to base any employment decision on your foreign accent, except if the accent seriously interferes with job performance.

Is It Legal For A Company To Ask Me During An Interview If I Am A Citizen? When Do I Have To Provide Documents To Show That I Can Work In The United States?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: This gets a little tricky. A company can ask for your national origin on an application for statistical record-keeping, but should not make it a requirement to provide that information. On the other hand, an interviewer should not inquire into your citizenship status. Before offering the job, the potential employer is only allowed to notify you that should it offer you the position, you will need to provide documentation that you can legally be employed in the United States during your first three days of work.

Can I Be Turned Down For A Job Because I Am Not Citizen Of The United States?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: Mostly, no. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it unlawful for most employers to make hiring, firing, or recruitment decision based on the citizenship or immigration status of the applicant. This means that employers cannot hire only US citizens or lawful permanent residents unless that employer is expressly required to do so by law, regulation or government contract. Under IRCA, employers must accept any lawful documentation that establishes the applicant’s employment eligibility. If provided with such documentation, the employer is not permitted to demand further documentation to verify employment eligibility. The law clearly provides that the employee or applicant has the sole discretion to choose the acceptable Form I-9 documents to use for the purpose of verifying eligibility for employment.

Can My Job Refuse To Assign Me A Particular Account Because The Client Does Not Like People Of My National Origin? Is My Boss Allowed To Take Me Off A Client Because The Client Won’t Work With Mexicans Or Doesn’t Like My Accent?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: Absolutely not. An employer cannot shield themselves from liability for making national origin-based employment decisions by pointing to their clients’ preferences or aversions to “foreigners” or “foreigner looking” people.

Can I Be Fired For Reporting National Origin Discrimination?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: Title VII and Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws make it unlawful for an employer to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee for submitting a report or otherwise opposing national origin discrimination or harassment. Indeed, a retaliation case can be stronger and easier to prove than the underlying discrimination case. Therefore, it is really important for you to put your complaints of national origin discrimination in writing, which can include emails, faxes, and even text messages. Our employment discrimination can even help you document your opposition to this unlawful conduct.

Are Slurs And/Or Insults About My National Origin Unlawful? What Can I Do If My Boss And Manager Keep Calling Me A Terrorist And A Camel Jockey?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: When considering whether national origin-based slurs, insults, jokes, and/or comments rise to the level of being illegal, the focus is on whether such conduct is severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment. As such, isolated insults and comments will not likely create an independent claim of national origin discrimination. However, these slurs, insults, jokes, and/or comments may provide supporting evidence as to why an adverse employment action was taken. Furthermore, once you report such conduct, continued allowance of such conduct, especially when done by a manager or boss will likely be evidence of retaliation, which, again, can be an even stronger claim.

How Do I Prove National Origin Discrimination? What Evidence Do I Need To Sue My Employer For Discriminating Against Me Because I’m Syrian Or Mexican?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: Obviously, national origin discrimination can be proved with direct evidence from your boss, supervisor, manager, HR or another decision-maker, including comments such as “We don’t need any Hispanics in management,” or expressly refusing to hire non-American citizens. If that type of direct evidence is not available, an employee, with the help of a qualified employment lawyer, can demonstrate national origin discrimination by using circumstantial evidence. If you are proceeding this way, the employee has to first clear four initial hurdles, or what courts refer to as a “prima facie case.” These hurdles require the employee to show that: (1) you are of a different national origin; (2) your employer fired your or took a different adverse employment action against you; (3) you were qualified for the position at issue; and (4) you were replaced by or treated differently than someone of a different national origin, which in most cases is an Anglo-American. Once an employee clears these initial hurdles, the employer is required to state non-discriminatory reasons for the adverse action taken against you. At that point, you have the opportunity to show that the reason given by the employer is pretext, which is the legal term for a lie.

I was fired because I’m Hispanic/Palestinian; can I sue? Do I have a claim for national origin discrimination or wrongful termination?

National Origin Discrimination Attorney: Our employment attorneys have provided as much information as we possibly can on this website, but your particular chances to prevail on a claim for national origin discrimination and wrongful termination cannot be properly evaluated without a discussion regarding the facts relating to your termination and employment situation. Because our employment law attorneys fight for employees’ rights every day, we offer a free initial consultation for Ohio claims. It is not worth guessing about your possible rights and claims when a call or filling out a submission to the right can get you a free answer.

These answers are not applicable to all cases, and if you suspect you may be facing discrimination, it’s important that you reach out to us to discuss your case. Give us a call today to start your free consultation.

DISCLAIMER: These answers do not constitute legal advice or guidance.

The First Step Is To Call The Right Attorney™

If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you based on your national origin (Hispanic, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Palestinian, Syrian, Asian, Indian, or Russian), 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 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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