Discrimination is one of the most difficult topics in employment law. The reason for this is that discrimination can be subjective. In other words, discrimination can mean different things to different people. However, the discrimination laws in the United States were put in place to clear up the ambiguity between what is and what isn’t discrimination in the workplace.
There are many forms of discrimination that exist in the workplace. Iit is very important for employers and employees alike to understand what constitutes an unlawful action before filing a lawsuit or speaking with an employment attorney about their unique situation.
One type of discrimination under federal and state laws is racial discrimination. Racial discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or applicant unfavorably because of their race.
For example, if you belong to a certain race, and you were not hired by an employer because of your race, then the employer may be guilty of race discrimination. Employers cannot discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race.
This type of discrimination occurs when an applicant or employee is treated less favorably than others because they may have certain physical characteristics that identify their race – e.g., skin color. Some technical terms that are used to describe this type of discrimination are colorism and pigmentocracy.
What Is Title VII Of The Civil Rights Act?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.
In regards to hiring practices, discriminatory standards cannot be used in recruitment advertising, interviewing, or choosing who to hire based on any characteristic protected by this section.
Discrimination can also be based on one’s own home life. For example, expectant mothers, parents with young children, or people who provide care at home for a sick spouse or aging parent cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. This type of discrimination is also called family responsibility discrimination, and it can be the basis for harassment, being passed over for a promotion, demoted, terminated, or not being hired at all.
An employer cannot discriminate based on a person’s personal home life and caregiving responsibilities. An example of this type of discrimination in the workplace would be when an employer discriminates against a lactating mother by denying breaks and private spaces to pump breast milk.
Why Is Title VII Important?
This law is considered to be one of the most powerful civil rights laws that are in place today because it provides protection for more classes than any other federal law. Title VII helps people gain employment or keep the job they already have.
In addition, the Civil Rights Act also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC to help with the administration and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. The EEOC is the vehicle that allows employees to file complaints of discrimination against an employer. The EEOC will then investigate the complaint and determine whether there is a basis for action against an employer.
What Is Nationality Discrimination?
Nationality discrimination in the United States is defined as the unequal or negative treatment of individuals on the basis of their place of birth or country of origin.
It is unfair to discriminate against people based on where they are from, or what their ethnic background may be. It can include things like treating employees unfavorably because they come from a certain country and/or speak with an accent.
Nationality discrimination is similar to race and ethnic discrimination because it discriminates against a certain group of people who share some common traits with foreign-born people, even though a person was born in the US.
Those hurt most by these types of discriminatory practices are non-native workers who are denied jobs or earnings, forced into lower-paid positions, passed over for promotions, or required to meet different standards than US-born applicants.
What’s The Difference Between Race And National Origin?
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines race as a person’s “biological, ethnic, cultural, or linguistic characteristics.” National origin means whether a person was born in another country or has parents who were born in another country.
It is important to note that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers are legally prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of their national origin.
Under certain circumstances, employees may also file discrimination complaints based on an employer’s treatment of workers who resemble people of foreign countries because they are “perceived” as sharing protected characteristics like race.
Is English Only In The Workplace Legal?
EEOC guidance on national origin discrimination says that employers should not treat individuals differently because of their accent or because they appear to be from a certain ethnic background.
While an English-only rule in the workplace may seem neutral, it could actually disadvantage some employees and job applicants with limited English skills.
In addition, requiring employees to speak only English at work might disproportionately affect workers who have recently immigrated to this country from other countries where it is common practice to speak multiple languages in daily life.
Employers generally must try to accommodate the language needs of non-English speaking workers by permitting them to speak the language of their choice during breaks and other non-work times.
The general rule is an employer cannot penalize workers for using one or more languages in the workplace. However, if accommodating employees’ language needs would pose an undue hardship on the business, then in some cases, an English-only rule could apply.
While employers are allowed to implement English-only rules in the workplace, they should be careful about how these policies are communicated and enforced — and why.
The United States does not have an official language, as such, a statement that US law requires speaking only English on the job is false. If an employer institutes such a rule, it should not be motivated solely because of a bias against people who do not speak English.
The EEOC encourages hiring people with diverse backgrounds and experiencing different cultures, races, ethnicities, and national origins. Employers should not prevent workers from maintaining the practices of their culture in the workplace or require that employees abandon cultural traditions or expressions just because they are at work.
The EEOC notes that Title VII permits an employer to adopt a rule prohibiting employees from wearing hats or other headdresses at work if it conflicts with a “particular dress requirement” for a specific job, such as a uniform that is worn by wait staff.
This exception does not apply when employers want to implement policies aimed at all types of headgear, even those that have religious meaning, such as turbans worn by Sikhs and kippahs worn by Jews. In these cases, an employer must show undue hardship if it cannot accommodate an employee’s religious wear.
Do I Need A Lawyer for Help With A Discrimination Case?
If you are considering legal action against an employer, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel from a discrimination attorney.
While you do not need an attorney to file a complaint with the EEOC, it’s important that you understand your rights and the process involved.