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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

What you need to know about national origin discrimination

Most companies and managers understand that it’s wrong to discriminate, yet they may continue to do so because they don’t think they’ll face any consequences. Things are a bit different when it comes to Colorado workplaces, though. 

Workplace discrimination is unlawful. You, as an employee, may be able to file suit against your Denver employer if their discrimination focuses on your national origin. 

What constitutes national origin discrimination?

Your employer may derive their national origin perceptions about you based on your accent, clothing or apparent ethnicity. Any instance in which you’re singled out or treated less favorably than your colleagues due to your presumed national origin or your relationship with someone of a specific one may constitute discrimination. 

It’s unnecessary for the person engaging in the discriminatory behavior to be of a different national origin from their victim to face allegations.

What should you know about workplace discrimination?

Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers for belonging to a protected class, such as their national origin. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 specifically prohibits discrimination against someone based on their citizenship or immigration status.

Employers can face lawsuits over national origin discrimination for unfairly:

  • Failing to hire a qualified applicant
  • Paying some workers a reduced salaries
  • Demoting or fail to promote specific employees
  • Furloughing or firing certain workers 
  • Assigning specific employees to inferior company roles
  • Withholding fringe benefits from some workers

An employee must prove that their disparate treatment is attributable to their national origin (or inclusion in another protected class) to file a discrimination lawsuit. 

Many workers face harassment because of their perceived belonging to a protected class. Any instances in which it moves from random teasing about their ethnicity or national origin to offensive or derogatory comments may give rise to an illegal, hostile work environment. While employers are often the ones who perpetuate this kind of discrimination, discrimination can also come from someone’s co-workers, clients or customers — and employers have duty to shut that kind of behavior down.

What should you do if you’re facing workplace discrimination?

You have rights if you’re facing discrimination in the workplace. You might want to consider filing a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit if you faced discrimination at work. An attorney may advise you how this might allow you to recover lost wages and other damages in your case.

 

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Bryan E. Kuhn, Counselor at Law, P.C.
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