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Accents and English proficiency fall under national origin protection

Working environments in Kansas vary in terms of settings and job duties. Another aspect that is present in many Kansas and Missouri working environments is the diversity of workers. Employee diversity is an important part of business life for many employers and also an important aspect for fellow employees to recognize.

Unfortunately, diversity in the workplace can sometimes act as the basis of employee discrimination. Employees have several protections against such types of discrimination such as gender, age and national origin. A common form of discrimination that may fall under the national origin discrimination category is discrimination based on an accent that is different from others.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported that employee discrimination claims that stem from an employee's accent are not uncommon. Employee discrimination claims that are based on discrimination of an employee's accent generally fall under the protected category of national origin.

In addition to national origin discrimination claims for an employee's accent, similar claims have been raised under the national origin category for discrimination over the ability to understand and speak a second language, most often English. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported this type of discrimination claim has increased by an estimated 76 percent since 1997.

In addition to discrimination based on an employee's accent or proficiency in the English language, employee discrimination claims based on national origin can also extend to employee's facing discrimination in the form of name calling or other derogatory actions.

Employee discrimination in the workplace is illegal and damaging to the affected employee. Employees who are being discriminated against at their place of work may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney regarding their employment rights.

Source: Inside Counsel, "Accent-related discrimination suits on the rise, says EEOC," Ashley Post, Dec. 26, 2012

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