How to Prove National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination occurs when applicants for employment or employees are treated unfavorably because of their perceived or actual country of origin, place of birth, accent, native language, ancestry, or because they are perceived as sounding or looking foreign. It is against federal law for an employer to treat such applicants or employees in this way and there are consequences if this discrimination can be proved. National origin harassment is when offensive or derogatory remarks are made about an employee’s national origin, accent or ethnicity. 

What Is National Origin Discrimination? 

It is unlawful under both federal and state laws to discriminate against either an applicant for a job or a current employee based on that person's national origin or other personal characteristics such as race, color, religion, disability, sex or gender. Laws prohibit national origin discrimination based on the person's place of birth, ancestry, culture or language. This means individuals cannot be denied equal opportunities because they are members of their family, originate from another country or due to the following features:

  • they have a name or accent linked to a national origin group; 
  • they take part in specific customs that are associated with a national origin group; 
  • they are married to or associate with people of a certain national origin.

When it comes to national origin harassment, the law doesn't make it unlawful for other employees or work supervisors to take part in simple teasing, making offhand comments which are isolated incidents that appear to be not that serious. Harassment is illegal when it happens frequently or is so severe that a hostile work environment takes place. It is also illegal when it results in an adverse employment decision being made such as the victim being fired or demoted, or the victim chooses to resign because the work environment has become so unbearable. 

Hiring decisions, termination or layoff decisions, pay reductions, the offering of job assignments, promotion decisions, the offering of additional benefits, and any other employment decisions cannot result from discriminatory practices.

How to Prove National Origin Discrimination 

As with any cases of workplace discrimination, the victim must be able to prove that the national origin harassment or national origin discrimination has a pattern to it and isn’t just a one-off event. If you believe you have been  discriminated against due to your national origin you first have to be able to prove you are in a protected class based on your national origin. 

If you think that an employer discriminated against you when hiring, you must be able to prove that you met all the job requirements in relation to other applicants. If you are already employed but were rejected for promotion, you must be able to prove that you were performing in your job as well as any competitors. Similarly, if you were demoted, your pay was reduced, or you were terminated, you must be able to prove it was because of your national origin.

An example of evidence is when an employer says openly that it doesn’t promote an employee from a particular national origin. Other examples of national origin discrimination are when an employee has been treated fairly and has excellent performance reviews but is all of a sudden fired and the employee has the proof that the employer had just been told of their national origin. However, some of the most important evidence could come from reliable eyewitnesses who have seen the national origin discrimination taking place.

Get Help With Your National Origin Discrimination Claim 

It is never easy roving national origin discrimination or national origin harassment as it is hard to find the evidence. However, if you take the Free Case Evaluation to speak with an employment lawyer, it is highly likely that you will have a higher chance of successfully proving your case than if you decide to take on your employer on your own. 

Complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page today to get connected with and receive personalized advice and help from an employment lawyer—all at zero cost to you. 

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