California Wrongful Termination National Origin

National Origin Discrimination Attorneys in California

Discrimination of national origin is the act of treating staff unfairly on account of their origin and ethnicity. This type of workplace harassment may occur because of the accent of a person, or because they seem to come from a different background, country, or region.

Harassing an employee because of his/her nationality is considered unlawful. There are different types of discrimination of national origin. These may include insulting or commenting on the accent, ethnicity or national origin of an employee. National discrimination of origin is illegal when it is so frequent that it produces a hostile work environment for the employee, according to California labor law.

How do I know if I was discriminated against because of my national origin?

It is not always easy to tell if someone is being discriminated against in the workplace. Most workplace discrimination is subtle or never admitted to openly. Employers are generally aware that outward discrimination could expose the employer to a lawsuit. However, there may be signs of discrimination because of an employee’s national origin.

National origin discrimination can even involve treating employees inappropriately because they are married or in a relationship with a person from a certain national origin.

National origin discrimination can include harassment at work based on:

  • Attendance or participation in churches generally associated with a national origin group
  • Family names associated with a particular national origin group
  • Marriage to or in a relationship with a person from a national origin group
  • Membership with an ethnic promotion or group

Simple teasing or other isolated incidents are not illegal unless they occur regularly. The harasser doesn’t always have to be the employer, but can also be:

  • Another co-worker within the company
  • Manager/Supervisor or Manager/Supervisor in a different department
  • Non-employee, such as a client or customer

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, to discharge or to terminate, to refuse to select or to bar or discharge an employee from a training program leading to employment, or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the employee’s national origin or ancestry. Cal. Gov. Code § 12940(a).

The United States Congress passed Title VII and the California Legislature passed Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in recognition of the fact that every person is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else whether an individual’s ancestry is:

  • American Indian
  • Arab
  • Asian
  • Filipino
  • Latino
  • Persian
  • Any other ethnicity

These protections extend to all workers in the United States, whether born in the United States or abroad and regardless of citizenship status. These laws express the strong public policy against national origin discrimination in the workplace.

How can I file a discrimination complaint?

In California, a national origin discrimination complaint can be filed either with the state agency, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal administrative agency. Both agencies have a “work-sharing agreement” which enables them to cooperate with each other to process these claims.

It depends on the size of your workplace to file a case of discrimination of national origin. Therefore, if your establishment has 5 to 14 staff, you are asked to file with the CRD. This is because the EEOC applies for organizations with 15 or more employees.

Contact Our Discrimination Attorneys in California

If you believe you have been subject to discrimination at your workplace based on your national origin, or ancestry, contact a discrimination attorney at Potter Handy, LLP.

Call (415) 534-1911 or email us to schedule a free, confidential consultation.