Race and Nationality Discrimination Lawyers
What is Race Discrimination?
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of race. Racial discrimination includes color discrimination and can exist where the employer and employee are of the same race or where an employer discriminatorily favors one employee over another employee of the same race.
What is Nationality Discrimination?
The law also prohibits nationality discrimination. Nationality discrimination includes discrimination based on an employee's:
- Place of origin or birth
- Physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics (e.g., accent)
- Marriage to or association with person(s) of a national origin group
- Name or spouse's name associated with a national origin group
- Membership in or association with an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of a national origin group
- Attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples or mosques generally used by persons of a national origin group
What is the Difference Between National Origin and Race?
Although national origin and race sound the same, the law treats the two separately. Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, typically skin color. National origin, on the other hand, refers to where a person was from, or where that person’s ancestors were from.
The confusion is easy to make since traditionally a person’s national origin correlated with their race. Typically “White” people would be from Europe, “Asian” people would be from Asia and “Black” people would be from Africa. However, with travel becoming very easy, there are more distinctions between race and national origin.
For example, in South Africa, twenty percent of the population is racially “white.” Their race is “white” but their national origin is Africa. Similarly, a man of Chinese ancestry living in Peru would be considered “Asian,” but their national origin would be considered “Latino.”
In the United States, discrimination because of race or national origin are both illegal and for the same reasons. It is also important to note that “Latino” and “Hispanics” are not considered a “race.” Claims about Latino or Hispanic discrimination are typically brought as national origin discrimination claims.
Should I Claim Race or National Origin Discrimination?
This question is based entirely on the circumstances. If the employer makes remarks about where a person is from or where a person’s ancestors are from, then it is national origin discrimination. Talking about that “Indian guy” is national origin discrimination. Remarks about being “black,” “white,” or “Asian” is considered racial.
National origin discrimination deals with issues of citizenship and language discrimination, which racial discrimination does not cover. Language discrimination includes accent discrimination. Racial discrimination, on the other hand, covers racial harassment, which national origin discrimination does not examine. One of the most famous examples of racial harassment is putting a noose on the desk of the only African American employee in the office.
Is Citizenship Discrimination Illegal?
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against lawful alien residents on the basis of their citizenship. The IRCA further prohibits employers from requiring more or different documents than those it specifies for the purpose of verifying employment eligibility, or refusing to honor apparently genuine documents.
A few exceptions exist. The IRCA does not apply to aliens who fail to apply for naturalization within six months of being able to. The IRCA also does not apply when the alien fails to be naturalized within two years of applying, although government processing time is not counted. If the alien fails to be naturalized within two years, that person must be prepared to show that he or she is working towards naturalization.
Finally, the IRCA only covers lawful alien residents. Undocumented aliens are not afforded protection.
I Think I Have Been Discriminated against, Do I Need a Lawyer?
Pursuing a race or nationality discrimination claim is complicated because procedural laws vary depending on where and when you file your claim. An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand how the laws of your state affect your case. An employment attorney can also help you file the necessary paperwork and represent you in court.
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Last Modified: 04-18-2013 10:18 AM PDT
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