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San Francisco National Origin Discrimination Attorney


San Francisco National Origin DiscriminationDiscrimination can be frustrating, demoralizing, and stressful. Fortunately, workplace bias is against the law. Individuals who are harassed, denied opportunities, or exposed to hostile work environments because of their national origin, or that of their ancestors or associates, can fight back with the help of a national origin discrimination attorney.

What is national origin discrimination?

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits national origin discrimination, which is defined as harassment of, or prejudicial treatment directed towards, applicants and employees on account of their:

  • Birthplace or country of origin;
  • Ancestry;
  • Culture;
  • Ethnicity of accent — unless language barriers “seriously interfere” with job performance;
  • Ethnic appearance; or
  • Relationship to a person of a particular ethnicity or origin.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws. In California, about 16.6 percent of all EEOC cases involve national origin claims.

What qualifies as harassment or prejudicial treatment?

All discrimination cases ultimately boil down to one question: what discriminatory thing did the plaintiff do? Since systemic prejudice isn’t an exact science, a multitude of actions can qualify, including, but not limited to:

  • Not hiring someone;
  • Firing or laying someone off;
  • Denying benefits or training;
  • Altering contracts unethically;
  • Regularly delegating people to the worst assignments;
  • Consistently using slurs; and
  • Allowing offensive workplace graffiti.

One-off and isolated incidents typically don’t amount to actionable claims. A successful Title VII lawsuit is one in which the plaintiff can demonstrate sustained maltreatment or provide definitive proof that they were fired or not hired because of their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

What other laws may apply to national origin discrimination?

In some instances, the Immigration Reform and Control Act is applicable when people endure discrimination because of their citizenship status or birthplace. The statute forbids businesses and organizations from only hiring natural-born citizens — unless required under the law. For example, only natural-born citizens can be president of the United States.

Neither Title VII nor the Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibit citizenship discrimination. However, they do protect against prejudicial treatment rooted in national origin. In certain situations, non-citizen residents may also be able to use the Immigration Reform and Control Act when pursuing discrimination charges. To determine if it applies in your case, consult with a national origin discrimination attorney.

Which employers must comply with national origin discrimination laws?

All federal agencies, companies with federal contracts, labor organizations, employment agencies, and private companies with more than 15 employees must comply with EEOC rules, in addition to other parameters delineated by the commission.

If you’re a target of nationality bias at a company with less than 15 employees, contact a national origin discrimination lawyer. Even though federal laws don’t apply to your situation, local and state laws may.

Can I only sue my boss or supervisor for national origin discrimination?

Workplace discrimination laws apply to everyone employed by qualifying companies and organizations. It doesn’t matter if the problem-causing person works directly in your department or not. Believe it or not, some people win national origin discrimination lawsuits when a company’s client is the offending party.

Do “English-only” workplace mandates qualify as discrimination under the law?

Employers can only enact and enforce “English-only” rules if speaking English is somehow necessary to perform a job effectively, ensure safety, or operate efficiently. Otherwise, businesses cannot arbitrarily force employees and contractors to use English at all times — nor can employers be retaliatory towards people who don’t stick to English.

What remedies are available for people targeted by national origin discrimination?

People who win Title VII claims can be awarded:

  • Punitive monetary damages;
  • Court orders compelling companies to perform specific actions;
  • Back pay;
  • Future pay;
  • Attorney fees.

Who can sue for national origin discrimination?

Anybody eligible to work in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status, can file national origin discrimination charges under Title VII. To win, you must prove that you’re the victim of sustained harassment or the target of an overt prejudicial act at your place of employment.

Additionally, people can invoke Title VII if they’re subjected to harassment or bias because they have a spouse, partner, or friend of a certain ethnicity.

How can employers prevent national origin discrimination in the workplace?

To ensure compliance with Title VII, businesses and organizations should hew closely to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines. Furthermore, employers should refrain from enacting blanket policies that only impact — explicitly or implicitly — people from a specific country, region, or linguistic group.

How can a national origin discrimination lawyer in San Francisco help you?

According to the federal government, “employees are responsible for reporting harassment at an early stage to prevent escalation.” If you’re dealing with workplace discrimination because of your ethnicity or national origin, the time to speak up is now.

You may not want to rock the boat or invite further scrutiny, but holding discriminatory employers accountable is the right thing to do!

Take the first step and contact a national origin discrimination attorney today. If you’re in the Bay Area, get in touch with the award-winning legal team at Rizio Lipinsky Heiting. Based in San Francisco, Rizio Lipinsky Heiting has helped countless individuals in California speak truth to power and squash workplace discrimination.

You risk nothing by getting in touch. Remember, bad things happen when good people don’t act — so reach out today. We’re here to elucidate your options.

  • This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.
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