Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge
Badge

New California Law Defines “National Origin” Employment Discrimination

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to prevent harassment in the workplace and avoid discrimination in employee hiring, promotions, and compensation on the basis of:

  • Ancestry, color, national origin, or race
  • Physical or mental disability, medical condition, or genetic information
  • Sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Military and/or veteran status

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is charged with enforcing this civil rights law and issuing regulations that clarify exactly what businesses must do to comply with the law.

One of the latest regulations, which takes effect July 1, 2018, clarifies the definition of the term “national origin” and thus the kinds of employer actions that would be considered national origin discrimination.

Personal Attributes of National Origin

The following individual attributes are protected under the category of national origin: (1) Physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics, such as a person’s name or speaking with an accent, (2) Tribal affiliation, such as Navajo, (3) Association with people of a national origin group, through marriage or membership in an association, (4) Participation in schools or religious groups associated with a national origin.

Any harassment or discrimination based on such characteristics would be against the law and could be the basis for an employee to take legal action against an employer.

Examples of National Origin Discrimination in the Workplace

Here are a few examples of employer actions that could be considered national origin discrimination:

  • Refusing to employ or promote someone or terminating an employee, because they speak English with an accent, unless it materially impairs the ability to do the job.
  • Requiring employees to meet certain height and weight requirements, which may result in bias against a national origin group, unless there is a specific business necessity that cannot be met by less discriminatory means.
  • Asking questions in a job interview related to national origin, such as what tribe the candidate belongs to, what kind of accent they have, where they were born, or whether English was their first language.
  • Denying employment opportunities because someone was educated in another country.
Consult With a San Jose Discrimination Claims Attorney

It is natural to be concerned about how a new employee will fit in with your existing team. However, employers must be extremely careful to avoid giving the impression that they might discriminate on the basis of national origin or any other legally protected attribute. If you need advice prior to terminating an employee who falls into one or more protected classes, or if you have had an employee complain about being harassed by co-workers because of their national origin, seek counsel from an experience Silicon Valley employment attorney. The lawyers at SAC Attorneys LLP have extensive experience helping businesses with a wide range of employment, discrimination, and harassment disputes. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (408) 436-0789.

Sources:

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mr. Cai Is a Diligent Attorney. My sister and I were defendants in a civil litigation case. We hired James Cai and his law firm, SAC Attorneys LLP. Mr. Cai is a diligent attorney and responded to our questions in a timely fashion. He and his staff were very helpful in keeping us informed of the proceedings of the case and in explaining each step. Mr. Cai is also very conscientious of fees and costs, and avoided unnecessary charges. The results of the Summary Adjudication sided with us. The Court Trial resulted in the “Final Statement of Decision” and “Judgment after Court Trial” overwhelmingly siding with us. Cynthia F.
★★★★★
I Am Truly Impressed. After spending a significant amount of time, money and efforts with my previous counsel at a larger law firm without getting meaningful results, I transferred my employment matter to Fortune Law Group LLP. The attorneys there were able to understand the complex situations of my case and put together an aggressive litigation strategy. We were able to file a compelling complaint within a week and forced the opposing party, which was represented by one of the largest law firms in California, to make a substantial settlement offer shortly thereafter. I am truly impressed by the no nonsense and results oriented approach by Fortune Law Group LLP attorneys. A job well done! X. Gao
★★★★★
They Took Time to Understand Our Technology. I am the founder of a bioinformatics start-up in the Silicon Valley and chose Fortune Law Group as our corporate counsels. Their attorneys have great experience with high tech start-ups and were able to offer a highly competitive service plan while not sacrificing a bit of their quality of services. They took time to understand our technology and provided value added services by introducing investors and job candidates to us. We regard our attorneys at Fortune Law Group not only as our legal advisors but also our venture partners. Dr. Pete S.