Most people understand what racial discrimination, sex discrimination, and disability discrimination all look like.
Discrimination based on national origin is a little more difficult to define, and it often overlaps with racial discrimination.
Yet even if it isn’t well known, many federal employees experience national origin discrimination every day they go into work.
Just as with any other problem, the first step to solving an issue is recognizing and defining it. As such, it’s critical that federal employees understand what national origin discrimination looks like.
If you think that you or a loved one are experiencing this kind of discrimination, know that the law is on your side.
Furthermore, you are entitled to compensation for any such discrimination you experience. To learn more, contact a knowledgeable employment attorney right away.
What Is National Origin Discrimination?
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Civil Rights Center provides an excellent definition of discrimination based on country of origin. Specifically, national origin discrimination is any employment discrimination against an employee because of that person’s:
- Country of origin;
- Native language;
- Accent (although English fluency can be required);
- Ethnic dress or habits; or
- Actual (or perceived) place of birth.
National origin discrimination can also occur if someone is targeted for “looking” or “sounding” like a certain group of foreigners, even if they do not actually belong to that group.
Thanks to Title VII, employees cannot fire (or fail to hire) an employee because of their national origin.
In fact, employers cannot let an employee’s country of origin affect any decisions related to any term or condition of employment.
Terms and conditions of employment include things like an employee’s pay, job assignments, fringe benefits, training, and schedule.
If you believe any of these terms and conditions have been impacted because of national origin discrimination, then you have protection under the law.
National Origin Harassment
Harassment based on national origin is also illegal. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines “harassment” as unwelcome conduct that is related to a protected characteristic like national origin.
Harassment based on national origin can include behaviors like:
- Demeaning comments about a person’s country of origin;
- Offensive jokes about a person’s native culture or language;
- Cultural, ethnic, or national slurs; and
- National or ethnic stereotypes.
However, one offensive joke or comment generally isn’t enough to rise to the level of illegal harassment.
Instead, the harassment has to either become a condition of the employee’s job or become severe enough to create an objectively intimidating, hostile, or abusive environment.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing National Origin Discrimination?
In almost all circumstances, you can help yourself by taking several key actions. First, document all incidents of national origin harassment or discrimination.
Include details like the time, place, date, and the name of the offender. Second, try to resolve the issue with the offender unless you feel that it is dangerous to do so.
In some cases, the offender simply doesn’t understand how they are coming off to others. Other times, they are simply acting ignorantly.
Finally, report the behavior to a supervisor. If your supervisor is the cause of the offensive and discriminatory behavior, go to their supervisor.
Looking to Defend Your Rights? Let Us Help
In a perfect world, national origin discrimination would be unheard of.
Unfortunately, we live in a flawed world, which means that discrimination is an all-too-familiar occurrence for many federal employees.
However, if you are experiencing discrimination based on your national origin, you don’t have to put up with it.
Our attorneys at the Federal Employment Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, are dedicated to holding federal employers accountable.
If you’ve been the victim of discrimination, we want to help you seek justice and get your life back together. From the moment you step into our office, we’ll fight to earn you the compensation you deserve.