Articles Posted in National Origin Discrimination

Sometimes, helpful and encouraging knowledge can come even from others’ unsuccessful cases. As an example, there’s the recent case of a Los Angeles restaurant server, who lost his race discrimination case. Even though this server lost his discrimination case, his outcome in the appeals court is an important one for anyone who is considering pursuing a discrimination action in court under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Some people might be frightened away from pursuing their rights and seeking their day in court by the possibility of not just losing but ending up with an outcome where they are left in the position of having to pay the other side.

If you are considering taking on your employer or former employer in court, you should not let it discourage you. As this case revealed, even if your employer makes a statutory settlement offer that you refuse, and you later receiving an unfavorable verdict, you will still not be “on the hook” for any of the other side’s attorneys’ fees or costs, as long as your case wasn’t frivolous or unreasonable. In other words, fear not, and if you have any questions about pursuing your claims, talk to a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney today.

The server, F.H. worked at a five-star luxury hotel in Los Angeles. While at work, F.H. and another server became embroiled in an altercation. According to F.H., the other employee had uttered various racist slurs toward him, including “beaner” and “[expletive] Mexican.”

As this blog mentioned in June, the state of California has enacted new regulations to strengthen further its public policy commitment to stamping out illegal discrimination, both in housing and in workplaces. The regulations that took effect this past July 1 dealt with one particular form of discrimination: that based on national origin. One of the key aspects of these new regulations expanding the definition of what constitutes national origin discrimination dealt with speech and language. The new rules did not stop there; they went further and provide California workers various avenues for proving that national origin discrimination occurred in their workplace. If you think you’ve been the victim of national origin discrimination on your job, you should take decisive action and reach out to a knowledgeable California discrimination attorney to learn more about the options in your case.

The regulations dealt a variety of hallmarks of national origin discrimination. One was employers’ creation of “English-only” workplace policies. While the policies did not discriminate against any group on their face, the impact was clear. Just like how facially neutral policies like literacy tests had the result of disenfranchising African-American voters in the “Jim Crow” South, these English-only policies had the impact of keeping people of certain national origins out of various workplaces.

Other employers took adverse employment actions against people based only their language accent or dialect. Similar to the “English-only” policies, these rules had the impact of disproportionately harming people of certain national origins for whom English is a second language. In both the cases of language rules and accent rules, the law does not say that the employer can never establish such rules. However, if the employer does create such a rule, the employer must demonstrate that the policy requirement is a business necessity. In 2011, the California courts ruled against Spanish-speaking employees in a case of a “no Spanish at work” rule. The employer only won its case, however, because it had proof that the bilingual employees were using their native tongue to demean other non-Spanish speaking employees and the policy was necessary to stamp out this misconduct.