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National Origin Discrimination Attorney in Orange, California

The landmark federal legislation aimed at protecting employees from discrimination, known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, initially singled out five personal characteristics of individuals for protection against discrimination. These groups of individuals became known as “protected classes,” and they included national origin, along with color, race, sex, and religion.  

Later, more categories were added through legislation and court decisions, so that today, the federal government provides sweeping protections for the vast majority of workers in the United States.  

National origin discrimination is defined as treating either job applicants or employees unfavorably just because they hail from a particular country or region of the world, because of their ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background, even when they’re not. 

California has similar protections against discrimination in its Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), certainly for discrimination based on the criteria stated above that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) uses in claims of national origin discrimination. 

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work in or around Orange, California, because of your national origin, accent, language, or appearance, contact The Guha Law Firm. We also serve clients throughout the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside. 

You may hesitate or even fear to come forward and report your feelings of being discriminated against because of possible retaliation, but we will become your advocate and fight for the full protection and exercise of your rights. Retaliation is illegal. 

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National Origin Discrimination Laws 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act applies to all employers with 15 or more employees, while FEHA in California covers all businesses with five or more employees. As for enforcement, the EEOC follows sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) applying to national origin. Section 1606.1 give this definition of national origin discrimination: 

“The Commission (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.” 

The section goes on to list “reasons that are grounded in national origin considerations,” such as marriage to or even association with a foreign national, belonging to a group that promotes the interest of national origin groups, attending a school or religious group associated with a national origin, or even having a name or a spouse’s name that is associated with a national origin group. 

The California Code of Regulations spells out a similar definition and adds the observation that “national origin groups” include, “but are not limited to, ethnic groups, geographic places of origin, and countries that are not presently in existence.” 

How Is National Origin Discrimination Manifested? 

First off, it should be noted that California and federal legislation both forbid discrimination in all aspects of employment: recruiting, interviewing, hiring, job assignment, promotion, training, fringe benefits, layoffs, terminations, and any other aspect. 

For instance, you cannot pass over an employee for an opportunity to receive training that could lead to a promotion because of the individual’s national origin, perceived or real. The same holds true if the company is downsizing, or rightsizing, as it is often called these days. You as the employer cannot single out an individual or group of individuals to be let go based on their national origin characteristics. 

National Origin Harassment 

California and federal laws also protect employees from harassment based on national origin. Harassment is not just one joke here or there or an offhand comment that is not repeated, but if there is a consistent or repeated pattern, then offensive comments, behaviors, and treatment of employees can become subject to claims of harassment.  

This is especially true if the offensive behavior creates a hostile work environment or if it leads to an adverse employment decision. The employee may quit because conditions have become intolerable. 

Harassment can spring from many sources: the employer, managers, supervisors, coworkers, and even clients, customers, vendors, or repair personnel. The point is that the employer must have policies and practices in place to prevent and then resolve these situations if they develop out of hand. 

Language Barriers and Rules on English Usage 

Employers cannot discriminate because of someone’s accent or primary language, and in fact, the use of English can only be required if it’s necessary to perform one’s job duties. Fluency in English or any other language can only be required if it’s necessary for the performance of the position for which it’s being imposed. English-only rules in a workplace can be implemented only if they are needed to promote safe and efficient work environments or business operations. 

Regardless of your immigration status or authorization to work in the United States, you are still covered by the anti-discriminatory laws shielding employees from national origin mistreatment. Also, if you’re hesitant to deal with the issue for fear of retaliation, don’t let that stop you. The anti-discrimination statutes bar retaliation. 

National Origin Discrimination Attorney in Orange, California

If you believe you’re being discriminated against because of your national origin at your place of work in or around Orange, California, contact the anti-discrimination attorney at The Guha Law Firm immediately. We will deal with your situation compassionately and then fight to have your rights protected.