As an employee, you have protections against national origin discrimination in the workplace under federal and California law. It’s important you understand your rights so you are treated with fairness and respect. Below, we’ll outline the basics of the law to help you decide if you should seek legal action.
National Origin Discrimination Rights Under Federal Law
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
National origin discrimination is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as “treating applicants for employment or employees of DOL unfavorably because of their actual or perceived place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, accent, or because they are perceived as looking or sounding ‘foreign.’” The definition can be broader than this depending on this situation. Read more at the Department of Labor.
The law applies to all aspects of employment, including:
- firing/laying off
- conditions of employment
National Origin Discrimination Rights Under California Law
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) expanded protections against national origin discrimination in the workplace on July 1, 2018.
The regulations clarify the broad definition of “national origin” in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure it is interpreted correctly. The new definition includes the following characteristics:
- physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics associated with a national origin group
- marriage to or association with persons of a national origin group
- tribal affiliation
- membership in or association with an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of a national origin group
- attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples, mosques, or other religious institutions generally used by persons of a national origin group
- name that is associated with a national origin group
Importantly, FEHA differs from federal law in that it limits “English-Only” positions, stating that employers may not discriminate against employees whose English is not proficient unless they can prove a high level of English proficiency is required for the job.
Also importantly, state law prohibits an employer from inquiring as to an employee or prospective employee’s immigration status.
Contact Pimentel Law To Protect Your Rights
If you feel you are facing national origin discrimination in the workplace, contact Pimentel Law. They have helped many employees receive their due justice and protect their rights, no matter their background. We look forward to helping you achieve the fair treatment you deserve.