NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Best Practices for Fair and Equal Employment

In our richly diverse society, it is perhaps no surprise that national origin workplace discrimination claims have been increasing steadily across the country since 2001.

It is unlawful for business to make a significant employment decision – e.g. hiring, advancing, demoting, or firing – based on a worker’s country of origin, culture, accent, ethnicity or assumed ethnicity.  For example, an employer is prohibited from only hiring applicants born in the United States.

Other instances of unlawful workplace actions prohibited by U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as known as the “Title VII” law) as interpreted by the courts:

•   Discrimination based on citizenship: Unless required by law, it is unlawful to hire only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

•   Harassment: Supervisors, co-workers, company clients and customers may not create a hostile, oppressive environment for an employee based on his/her national origin, ethnicity, or accent.

•   Language requirements: While employers may require “English-only” communication if that is necessary for the contact of business, a company may not impose that requirement for employee breaks or other off-periods.  Also, an employer may not make employment decisions based on a person’s accent unless that accent significantly interferes with the function of a job.

Prevention is the best cure for any bad management habits. An experienced employment law attorney can advise on and help implement appropriate policy changes.

Photo: Ellis Island Photography Collection, New York Public Library