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Understanding national origin discrimination in the workplace

All employees have a right to be treated fairly in the workplace. They should be judged only on their competencies regarding their ability to do the job that they have been hired to do, rather than any other irrelevant factor.

Therefore, a person's gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin or disabilities should never be factors when an employer makes the decision to hire or fire someone. The following is an overview of your protections from national origin discrimination as an employee or a prospective employee.

National origin harassment

Your national origin is irrelevant to your ability to do your job. It should not be a topic of discussion in the workplace and you should never be made to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable because of the country in which you were born.

Therefore, your coworkers or employer should never make jokes or ask intrusive questions about where you come from, whether you are in a job interview or already employed. If these types of questions take the form of bullying or lead to the creation of a hostile environment, you may be able to take legal action against your employer.

Discrimination based on citizenship

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, employers are prohibited from hiring, firing or recruiting based on a person's citizenship or immigration status. This means that employers should not be interrogating you with these types of questions. If they ask you such questions and you can show that negative action was taken against you because of your national origin, it's likely that you will be able to gain damages if you make a discrimination claim.

Language requirements for the employment

Some companies create English-only rules in the workplace. Sometimes this has benefits for the business and for customers. It can help to ensure that everyone understands each other and that there are no miscommunications. However, if you believe that an employer is enforcing an English-only rule for discriminatory reasons, you should consider filing a complaint.

If you believe that you have been subject to discrimination or harassment in the workplace because of your national origin, you should not simply tolerate this type of behavior. Take action to get the justice that you deserve.

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