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Is There an Act that Covers National Origin Discrimination?

In the United States, discrimination in the workplace was once both accepted and legal. Those days, however, are long gone. Today, various state and federal laws protected individuals in all aspects of employment from a number of different types of discrimination. This includes national origin discrimination. If you suspect that you are the victim of national origin discrimination in the workplace you should consult with an experienced Florida employment law attorney immediately; however, in the meantime it may help to gain a better understanding of what constitutes national origin discrimination.

Contrary to what many people believe, not all discriminatory conduct in the workplace is illegal. Employment discrimination is only illegal if the discrimination is based on one of several legally protected traits or characteristics. National origin is one of those protected characteristics. National origin discrimination refers to treating someone differently because the individual is from a different country or culture or because of the individual’s accent or ethnicity. National origin discrimination also applies in situations where discrimination occurs because the victim is thought to be from a different country, culture, or ethnicity, even if that perception is wrong.

The law protects an individual from illegal discrimination in all aspects of employment, including, hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Harassing someone because of his/her national origin (or perceived national origin) is also illegal if the harassment is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.

Furthermore, an employer cannot enact a company policy that, on a surface level applies to all employees, if, in practice, the policy has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business. Requiring all employees to speak English only on the job are usually not legal unless it is truly necessary to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the employer’s business.

Finally, citizenship or immigration status cannot be used to make employment related decisions unless required to by law. Employers must also follow very specific rules and procedures under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) with regard to employment eligibility documentation required of an applicant or worker.

Unfortunately, despite the prohibition against national origin discrimination in the workplace, it does still occur. If you believe a prospective, current, or former employer has discriminated against you based on your real or perceived national origin, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffered.

If you have additional questions or concerns about your employment rights or about national origin discrimination, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.

To learn more, please download our free Pregnancy Discrimination in Florida here.