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National Origin Discrimination FAQs

National Origin Discrimination FAQs

Helping All Employees Understand Their Rights

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.

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