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National origin discrimination accounts for 11% of EEOC cases

Employers in New York should be aware that national origin discrimination occurs within many workplaces. Every year, 11 percent of the charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concern accusations of national origin discrimination within the private sector.

This form of discrimination arises when employers take negative actions against someone based on the person's nation of origin. People also experience this discrimination based on their ancestors' national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes language barring employers from harassing or treating people unfairly because of their real or perceived cultural homelands. Protection extends through hiring, training opportunities, promotions, pay and termination.

According to guidance from the EEOC, Civil Rights violations could occur if employers prohibit people from speaking a native language during breaks. Acquiescing to a customer's demand to remove a foreign worker could also be viewed as discrimination. Other examples of violations could include requiring English fluency when a job does not need it and demanding U.S. citizenship from potential employees who have valid documentation to work in the country.

Workplace discrimination could also result from negative attitudes about a person's race, age, disability and sex. For example, a person who complains to management about any type of discrimination might then experience retaliation. Hostile actions like cutting hours, reducing pay or firing after a person makes a lawful complaint could open the door to legal action. To prepare a lawsuit, an attorney could advise the employee regarding how to gather documentation about harassment or illegal company policies. An attorney could contact the employer and ask for a settlement that covers lost wages and career setbacks. If necessary, a lawyer might prepare the evidence for a jury trial.

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