The only difference between man and man all the world over is one of degree, and not of kind, even as there is between trees of the same species.
- Mahatma Gandhi
We all speak, act, and look differently. Either we or our ancestors are all from different places. This diversity should be celebrated, not used as the grounds for unfair treatment in the workplace. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your ancestry, ethnicity, or place of birth - your national origin.
National origin discrimination is forbidden by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The attorneys at Haynes & Haynes, P.C., are here to hold employers accountable when they violate your rights. We are here to fight for Alabama workers and their families, from Birmingham and beyond. Fill out our online form today for a free consultation!
What Is National Origin Discrimination?
National origin discrimination involves treating employees or applicants for employment unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not). It can also involve treating people unfavorably because they are married to or associated with a person of a certain national origin. Membership in an association that deals with ethnic advocacy, or affiliation with schools, churches, temples, mosques, or other places of worship associated with individuals of certain ethnic background cannot be used as a basis for treating you differently in the workplace.
National origin discrimination can also involve harassment or ethnic slurs which create a hostile working environment, particularly when this treatment adversely affects your ability to perform your job.
Some of the most common forms of national origin discrimination involve language. For example, an employer may deny you a job on the grounds that you do not speak English well enough, or may refuse to accommodate you if you do not speak English as well as everyone else in the workplace. Some employers may even claim that your accent makes you unqualified for a position. But these are all forms of national origin discrimination. More often than not, fluency in English is not a necessary job qualification. An employer may only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively. An "English-only" rule, which requires employees to speak only English on the job, is only allowed if it is needed to ensure the same or efficient operation of the employer's business and is adopted for a nondiscriminatory reason.
National origin and citizenship are two separate things. Your national origin concerns your own or your ancestors' place of birth or ethnicity. Citizenship relates to your status. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA") makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to hiring, firing, or recruitment based upon an individuals citizenship or immigration status. The law forbids employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation, or government contract. Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility (i.e., completing the Department of Homeland Security Form I-9), based on the employee's national origin or citizenship status.
Both Title VII and IRCA prohibit retaliation against individuals for asserting their rights under the law or for filing charges of discrimination.
How We Can Help
Your national origin and your job mean a lot to you. When the two clash, it can leave you hurt, confused, and afraid to move forward. At Haynes & Haynes, we understand this. We have fought for many Alabama families just like yours, no matter how difficult the case. We want to ease your burden in this difficult time. We want to help you hold your employer accountable for unlawful discrimination and get you the respect you deserve. Fill out our online form or call us today at (205) 879-0377. The consultation is free.