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National Origin Discrimination

The Long Island national origin discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick, PLLC handle cases of workplace national origin discrimination. National origin discrimination cases include instances where an employee has been fired or denied a promotion based on the employees national origin. Experienced national origin discrimination discrimination attorneys can fight for your workplace rights.

According to New York City’s planning department, New York City (1) has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia; (2) is home to over 3 million foreign-born residents; (3) has 50% of residents that speak a language other than English at home; (4) has more Dominicans than any other city; and (5) is home to over 200 languages spoken by its residents. New York’s diverse and dynamic population has defined us as “America’s melting pot” – a feature often used to describe New York as a vibrant community in which to live and work. Yet, this dynamic population has unfortunately led employers to gain certain biases and discriminate against workers because of their national origin –meaning either the employees' or ancestors' country of birth.

National origin discrimination is very similar to and often intertwined with race discrimination. The bottom line is that treating employees or job applicants differently because of their place of birth, ancestry, accent, or any other cultural difference is illegal. The following list highlights what could be considered national origin discrimination on Long Island.

  1. Assigning Hispanic employees to perform more physically intensive jobs than their American co-workers with the excuse that English is necessary to perform the easier jobs. English fluency or English-only policies in the workplace are unlawful unless the employer has a nondiscriminatory explanation for the requirement. Generally, employers must tie such requirements with a business necessity. Unless speaking English is essential to efficiently perform the job, such requirements will most likely be unlawful.
  2. Treating employees or job applicants different because of their accent is illegal. As long as the accent would not significantly interfere with the efficient operation of the job, employers are prohibited from singling out an applicant in this manner. Jobs where effective English language communication is particularly necessary and where strong accents may create some difficulty include teaching and customer service related positions. Customer preference does not matter. Employers may not attempt to hide behind the excuse that such English only or English fluency policies are necessary to attract certain customers to the business.
  3. Assigning only a group of retail workers who are fluent in English but were born in Nigeria to perform jobs in the back of the store may be considered discriminatory.
  4. Firing an employee after the boss learns that he is married to a Mexican-born woman is considered associational discrimination and is prohibited under federal, New York State, and New York City law.
  5. Ethnic-based comments or insults that create an intimidating or offensive work environment for the employee and that rise to the level of severe or pervasive may be considered unlawful harassment (also known as a hostile work environment).
  6. Refusing to hire an Indian job applicant with black eyes, golden skin complexion, and face jewelry after the interviewer tells her, “we are looking for someone with a more clean and American-like look” may be considered national origin based discrimination. Although appearance based traits such as height or eye color are not specifically protected by employment discrimination laws, certain physical traits may be used to argue that the individual was treated differently solely because of physical characteristics associated with their national origin.

Employment discrimination cases often lack a smoking gun. By this we mean that one piece of evidence that is determinative of discrimination and that points directly to a discriminatory employment practice, usually does not exist. Thus, national origin discrimination on Long Island is often subtle and masked behind policies that may appear to be lawful. At Famighetti & Weinick PLLC, our lawyers are trained to maintain a keen eye to identify even the most subtle instances of national origin discrimination. Call the Long Island national origin discrimination lawyer at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC, at (631) 352-0050 to schedule your free consultation. Our Long Island national origin discrimination attorneys stand ready to take your call and your case.

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