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Frequently Asked Questions About National Origin Discrimination

Our Los Angeles National Origin Discrimination Attorneys Answer Common Questions

National origin discrimination is not only a hot-button political issue, but a serious problem that affects workers across the country. Even in Los Angeles, with our diverse population, workers from other countries are still a target of harassment and overt workplace discrimination. Fortunately, employees and jobseekers have legal rights they can flex when their employers or co-workers break California and federal discrimination laws. Our Los Angeles national origin discrimination attorneys provide a FAQ below. This guide can help answer some of the most common questions about how these laws protect you from national origin discrimination in the workplace.

The Los Angeles employment lawyers at YMS are committed to helping California employees who suffered harm due to workplace discrimination. By providing you with information on national origin discrimination, it is our hope that we equip you with the knowledge you will need to protect your job and career.

California National Origin Discrimination Frequently Asked Questions

What Is National Origin Discrimination?

As the name implies, this form of discrimination occurs when workers or job seekers are treated differently because of their nationality. Frequently, this type of discrimination manifests itself through pervasive harassment or other discriminatory actions. Both California and federal law prohibit this type of discrimination. Even workers from countries that no longer exist receive protection from federal and state laws. Spouses of individuals from other countries also receive legal protections from workplace discrimination.

National origin discrimination takes many forms. It may include discriminatory comments, firing, demoting, refusing to hire, or taking other employment actions based on a person’s country of origin or ethnic group. Sometimes employers discriminate against people of a particular national origin by enacting workplace policies that disproportionately affect workers of certain ethnicities.

What Are Examples of National Origin Discrimination/Harassment?

There are several real-world examples of possible national origin discrimination/harassment listed below. Examples include:

  • Terminating an employee who originates from a Middle Eastern country, like Iraq
  • Coworkers referring to fellow employees with derogatory nicknames, such as “Taliban”
  • Excluding an employee from a meeting because they are from Mexico
  • Employer policies that disproportionately affect workers from certain ethnic groups, regions or nations
  • English-only policies without a legitimate business reason

California rules on national origin discrimination are very broad and cover many types of possible situations in the workplace. You can read more about those rules on the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s website or you can call our firm for a consultation at (310) 499-0140.

How Does California Law Protect Workers from National Origin Discrimination?

California law provides more protection against workplace discrimination than federal laws. For instance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the federal law) only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) applies to employers with five or more employees, and bans discrimination based on a worker’s real or perceived national origin. An employer breaks the law even if they discriminate against a person they perceive to be of a certain national origin or ethnicity.

State rules against discrimination are broad. They don’t just cover national origin discrimination. They also protect workers on the basis of skin color, ancestry, ethnicity, accent and spoken languages. English proficiency requirements are also banned unless the employer can demonstrate the job duties require a certain type of proficiency in English (reading, writing or speaking).

What Other Types of National Origin Discrimination Do Workers Experience?

Another protected trait that frequently gets triggered along with one’s national origin is religion. Sometimes, people from certain countries share a common religion. For example, people from Saudi Arabia are commonly Muslim and people from Mexico are commonly Catholic. Sometimes an employer’s animus towards an employee of a different background could be based on their religion. Workers and applicants can also flex their legal rights under FEHA and federal laws after facing religious discrimination in the workplace.

In addition, workers and applicants from other countries may also experience racial discrimination. California and federal laws prohibit racial discrimination in the workplace.

Citizenship discrimination also affects foreign workers and especially applicants. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act and Immigration Reform and Control Act, employers cannot discriminate against workers or applicants for their immigration status or national origin.

What Are My Options for Fighting National Origin Discrimination?

If you believe your employer is guilty of national origin, racial, religious or immigration status discrimination, then your first step should be to contact a Los Angeles employment law attorney. You should also contact an attorney if you have evidence of discrimination or believe evidence exists. An attorney at our firm can help you with the claim process and additional legal options if possible.

There are a couple of options you could pursue, including filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment. Which organization you choose to file with could depend on the number of claim. You should discuss this choice with a lawyer before proceeding.

Depending on what happens after filing a claim, your attorney may advise you to take the matter to court by filing a lawsuit.

Will California’s At-Will Rule Bar an Employment Discrimination Claim?

California’s at-will rule means employers can terminate your position at any time for any reason or no reason, even a bad reason. However, an employer cannot terminate you based on your protected trait (such as your religion or national origin) or protected activity (complaining about national original discrimination in the workplace).

Do I Need to File a Discrimination Lawsuit?

Whether or not to pursue a claim through a lawsuit, arbitration or otherwise is an issue that you need to discuss with an experienced employment attorney.

If you suffered damages, a settlement or jury verdict could help you obtain compensation for those damages. For instance, you could possibly recover compensation for lost income, lost benefits and emotional distress caused by a wrongful termination. Additional factors, such as mitigation, could apply to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

An attorney at our Los Angeles employment law firm can review your potential case and help you determine your next steps for taking legal action.

Call Our Los Angeles National Origin Discrimination Attorneys to Learn More

You can schedule a consultation with one of the Los Angeles discrimination national origin discrimination lawyers to learn more about how California and federal laws may apply to your situation. If you are experiencing workplace discrimination and want to pursue possible legal remedies, then we encourage you to call us at (310) 499-0140 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.