Los Angeles National Origin Discrimination Lawyer

Los Angeles National Origin Discrimination Lawyer

Workplace Discrimination Based On National Origin Or Ethnicity in Los Angeles, CA

When an employer mistreats a person or group of people based on where they are from, their ethnicity, or their accent, they are discriminating based on national origin. A Los Angeles national origin discrimination lawyer can help you determine if you’ve been discriminated against based on national origin.

National origin discrimination occurs even if it is perceived that they are of a certain nationality, such as refusing to interview someone because they have a last name that appears to be from a specific nationality.

It is also considered discrimination if an employer mistreats an employee or prospective employee if they are married to someone of a particular national origin or if the employer is of the same national origin that they are discriminating against.

It is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on national origin. If you have experienced any form of discrimination or harassment at work based on your national origin or ethnic background, you should speak to an employment attorney as soon as possible. You may have a claim against your employer, and you may be entitled to compensation.

At the Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez, we can help you protect your rights as an employee and determine what steps to take. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call today at 213-975-0003. We handle employment discrimination in the Los Angeles area and Southern California. Se habla español.

Los Angeles National Origin Discrimination Lawyer

What Is National Origin Discrimination?

Discrimination based on national origin can cover many different things. Mainly, it is discrimination based on nationality or birthplace. However, it can also include a person’s ancestry or even perceived nationality traits. This includes first and last names, accents, and clothing.

This type of discrimination comes from the believed stereotypes of what people from a certain country are like. This discrimination can come directly from an employer or can be enforced by an employer because they believe it is what their customers or audience believes.

National origin discrimination can be direct or subtle. A direct approach would be refusing to hire someone from a specific country or who has a last name that sounds like it is from that country. A more subtle approach would be if the employer implements and enforces rules that would not allow employees to express their nationality in the workplace.

An example would be disallowing any language other than English to be spoken in the workplace after hiring someone who is from another country and is multilingual. The employer is discriminating if they only implement the law after the new employee is hired, only enforce it to the new hire, and implement the rule without a legitimate reason for doing so.

Are Language Requirements Discriminatory?

Implementing language requirements in the workplace can be tricky if it is suspected that they were made for discriminatory reasons. It is legal to implement requirements for English fluency if it is essential to an employee’s job. This is especially common in customer service positions.

If a company caters mainly to United States Americans, it is reasonable to require fluency in English for a customer service position. The law, however, has determined that the level of fluency varies depending on the job. The level of fluency will likely be different with a customer service representative than it would be for a warehouse worker, even within the same company.

Enforcing rules where only English can be spoken in the workplace can be legal, as long as it was not implemented or enforced for discriminatory purposes. For instance, a job cannot enforce the rule as a way to encourage those who speak no English or poor English to quit.

Also, the rule must be implemented and enforced fairly and equally. For example, an employer cannot enforce the rule on Spanish speakers but can allow French speakers to break the rule.

A non-discriminatory way of implementing an English-only rule would be if most of the employees and customers were ONLY fluent in English. This rule may be necessary to ensure efficiency among coworkers and swift communication in an emergency.

In the event that this rule is implemented, employers have a duty to explain the rule to employees along with reasoning of how it benefits the company to do so. The employer should also explain if there are repercussions to not following the rule. The rule should be specific and not too broad.

An employer cannot deny someone based on their language or accent alone. If a position requires the employee to be understood in English or any other language, as long as the employee is able to be understood, even if they have an accent, they cannot be fired or denied employment based on their language.

Examples of National Origin Discrimination

Under state and federal law, workers cannot be subjected to discrimination based on their national origin, ethnicity or perceived national origin. Examples of national origin discrimination in the workplace include:

  • English-only rules
  • Demotion or job denial because the applicant has an accent
  • Failure to interview applicants based on last name or national origin
  • Pay gap on the basis of national origin
  • Physical or verbal abuse based on one’s country of origin
  • Discrimination based on marriage to someone of a different national origin
  • Discrimination based on association with individuals of a different national origin
  • A combination of religious discrimination and nationality discrimination

Employees in California are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other state and federal employment laws. Attorney Miguel S. Ramirez has nearly 20 years of legal experience, including a background in employer defense. He can explain how these laws protect you and suggest a course of legal action based on the specific circumstances of your case.


Q: How Do You Prove National Origin Discrimination?

A: If you faced discrimination in the workplace based on national origin, you will need to present evidence that discrimination occurred.

Evidence must include the following four elements: you are in a protected class as determined by state and/or national law, you are qualified for the job, you were the victim of a negative employment decision (i.e., you were denied employment, fired, or demoted), someone else chosen for the position was not in your protected class and less qualified.

Q: How Do I Sue for Discrimination in California?

A: You should begin by documenting every encounter as soon as the discrimination begins. Then, you will want to file a complaint through the employer’s internal channels. This way, they are liable to address the situation.

Next, you must file a complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC within 300 days. Once the agency processes it, they will either deny the case or issue a right to sue. If you receive the right, you may file your claim within 90 days.

Q: Is it Illegal to Discriminate Based on National Origin?

A: National origin is a protected class, and therefore, it is illegal to discriminate based on where a person is from. Employers face penalties if this law is broken. These are usually remedies to the employee, including back pay, hire (if denied employment because of national origin), promotion or raise, reinstatement if fired, and punitive damages.

An employer also may be required to pay the employee’s legal and attorney’s fees.

Q: Does California Have a Discrimination Law?

A: In California, for employers with five or more employees, it is illegal to discriminate against a protected class. With a protected class, an employer cannot mistreat an employer through religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, pregnancy, medical status, medical diagnosis, or race discrimination.

Employers are also not allowed to retaliate against employees for exposing discrimination that has occurred.

Contact Our Los Angeles Attorney About Nationality Discrimination

If you have experienced any discrimination at work based on your accent, your ethnic background or your country of origin, speak to our attorney to determine if you have a case. Please contact us online or call 213-975-0003. We take cases throughout Los Angeles County and surrounding counties.


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