The greater New York area is home to people from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds, however, national origin discrimination is not uncommon. This form of discrimination involves treating employees and applicants unfavorably based on their national origin, ethnicity, accent, ancestry, or perceived ethnic background. If you believe you have been treated unfairly for being from a particular country or region, an experienced NYC discrimination attorney can help.
At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our legal team is well-versed in the local, state and federal laws designed to protect workers from national origin discrimination. Whether you fired, not offered a job, harassed at work, or you have been treated unfairly because of your culture or the national origin of your spouse, relatives, or friends, you may be entitled to compensation. When you work with us, you can rest assured we will fight for your rights.
Legal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York State and New York City Human Rights Act, and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) all contain provisions that prohibit discrimination in any employment decision. This includes hiring, firing, compensation, job assignments, promotion, employee benefits, or any other term or condition of employment. Additionally, harassment of an individual based on his or her national origin (e.g. offensive or derogatory remarks about an employee’s national origin) is considered a form of discrimination, provided that the harassment is persistent and severe enough to create a hostile work environment.
There are a number of forms of unlawful national origin discrimination, including:
- Discrimination based on country or place of origin — Discriminating against an employee or applicant based on the country/location they or their ancestors originated from, including areas not recognized as a nation (e.g. refugees from a defunct government).
- Employment discrimination against a national origin group — Discriminating against an ethnic group with a shared cultural heritance, ancestry, history, language, dialect, ideology, religion, style of dress, physical appearance, or linguistic or cultural traits.
- Employment discrimination based on perception — Discriminating against an individual based on an employer’s or co-worker’s perception that the person is part of an ethnic group, regardless of whether the individual identifies with that culture.
- Employment discrimination based on affiliation or association — Discriminating against an individual for associating with a person of a particular national origin.
Examples of national origin discrimination include:
- Rejecting applicants or denying interviews to individuals who have foreign accents, even though they are otherwise qualified to perform the job
- Making derogatory comments about an employee’s country of origin
- Establishing English-only rules for discriminatory reasons or that are not essential for business operations
- Requiring only non-Caucasian applicants to submit work authorization documents
- Comments such as “He’s not a good fit for our company’s culture,” or “She shouldn’t be speaking to clients because of her accent.”
In any event, national origin discrimination can be hard to identify because employers often create policies that apply to everyone, but have the effect of discriminating against certain individuals based on their national origin, such as English-only rules designed to discourage immigrants. Such policies are only permissible if they are necessary for the safe, efficient operation of the business and are not created solely for discriminating against individuals from certain nations or regions of the world. Similarly, an employer may not base an employment decision on an employee’s accent unless it significantly interferes with his or her ability to perform the job.
Contact Our New York City National Origin Discrimination Attorney
If you believe that an employer refused to hire you because of your race or ethnicity, or you were harassed at work because of where you are from, what you wear, or how you speak, you may be the victim of national origin discrimination. That’s the time to call Lipsky Lowe, LLP.
Our attorneys will explain all of your rights in terms that you can understand and help you obtain just compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to damages such as:
- Reinstatement, compelled hiring, or compelled promotion
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Retroactive seniority and benefits
- Compensatory damages for pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (designed to punish the offending employer’s conduct)
- Attorneys’ fees
Our discrimination attorneys will fight for you inside or outside of the courtroom. We know that you may be afraid to come forward, but when you come to Lipsky Lowe, we will be the strength in your corner. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your case.