Articles Posted in national origin discrimination

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has ruled against Forever 21 Retail, Inc. as a result of the misclassification laywerscompany’s alleged policy forbidding language other than English. The complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, resulted from three employees at Forever 21’s flagship store in San Francisco who said they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish in what they were allegedly told was an “English only” environment. The employees further claimed management retaliated against them with harassment, hostility, and reduction of work hours after they complained about the rule, according to an article from KGET out of Bakersfield.

Defendant was ordered to pay $90,000 to each complainant, as well as severance packages and plaintiff legal fees. The chain of stores was also ordered to immediately end policies that enforce rules about not speaking languages other than English. Continue reading

Requiring that someone be able to speak English for a job is perfectly legal. Requiring that they not speak any other language is not. The U.S.national origin discrimination Equal Opportunity Commission is suing national retail grocery chain Albertsons Inc. for its “no-Spanish” policy and the harassment and hostile work environment it created. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after conciliation process could not reach a settlement.

According to a Washington Post report, employees said they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish during their breaks or to Spanish-speaking customers. While technically an unwritten policy, plaintiffs alleged a 2012 training video specified they were not permitted to speak Spanish in front of any non-Spanish-speaking person, and they were threatened with discipline when speaking Spanish.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clearly states that workplace discrimination based on national origin is forbidden. By enforcing rules that are connected to one’s national origin, an employer creates disparate impact if they fail “to demonstrate that the challenged practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” In the Albertsons case, employees claimed they were targeted for using Spanish in the break room on their own time, which certainly would have no bearing on their work. They also said they were scolded for using Spanish with Spanish-speaking customers, a practice that would, in fact, be helpful to their work and beneficial to customers.

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California is once again leading the way in establishing protections for all people from discrimination and bias. This time, Californianational origin discrimination Office of Administrative Law has expanded protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act on the basis of national origin, including for those who are undocumented. Ancestry and national origin were already among statuses protected under the rules, but according to a National Law Review report, the new regulations clarify and broaden the meaning applied to these categories.

Previously, national origin could be defined as place of birth, national or geographic origin, or ethnicity, whether actual or perceived. For example, if someone could be mistaken as being a part of one nationality or ethnicity and is treated unfairly for that reason, their actual ancestry is irrelevant in determining whether discrimination occurred. The modifications delve even deeper into the realm of perception and how one judges another person based on their association with national origin. Continue reading

Our employment lawyers know how important it is for companies to have both strong anti-discrimination policies Employee Discriminationand enforcement of those policies. Not only are acts of discrimination against protected groups illegal, but they are also just plain bad business. Everyone wants to feel safe going to work, and no one wants to feel like they have to choose between their income and the values they hold sacred.

Disney is one company under scrutiny after a former employee of Walt Disney World in Florida filed a lawsuit (Sebti v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc.) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging he was discriminated against for his nationality.

The employee alleges he once found a noose made of duct tape in his office. He also allegedly was not allowed breaks for prayer during Ramadan. Plaintiff further says he was unfairly passed up for promotions and that the actions against him were a response to his Moroccan nationality. Continue reading

Mistreatment of immigrant employees unfortunately happens all too often, as some employers take advantage of workers’ lack of English skills and fear of potential deportation. Holding these firms accountable for such discrimination is a primary goal of our L.A. employment discrimination lawyers. employment discrimination

One’s immigration status or language skills should have no bearing on the way a company treats its workers.

Recently in Illinois, two restaurants and an employment agency were ordered to pay nearly $215,000 in back wages and penalties to a number of immigrant workers who were both mistreated and underpaid. Defendants in the matter – a sushi restaurant, a hibachi restaurant and an employment agency in Chinatown – are all expected to abide the consent decree. A judge will be in charge of overseeing the execution of the settlement, which partly requires the businesses to make a notable change in their employment practices.  Continue reading

We often hear about the working conditions for factory workers in countries like China where those making cellphones for American consumers live in company dorms that allegedly have nets over the building to prevent workers from jumping out windows in suicide attempts.  These suicide attempts are allegedly related to the poor working conditions for workers who are taken far away from home and their families.

Sewing workerWhile conditions are not generally considered this bad in America, at least not in the past 50 years or so, according to a recent news article from Racked, factory conditions for workers in Los Angeles are worse than we might think.  The article focuses on stories of several workers. Continue reading

One of the many campaign promises made by then-candidate Donald Trump was that he intended to make it very difficult for companies to hire immigrant workers.  As president, he has vowed to follow through on this promise.  This will hit California harder than most areas in the nation.

grapesThere are several reasons for this, and part of the problem is that California relies upon foreign nationals in vastly different sectors of industries.  There are obviously the agricultural workers who are sponsored with H2A, which is a visa program for temporary agricultural workers. However, there is also a program that is known as the H1A program that is for skilled workers with at least a university level education that performed work that is difficult for employers to staff with American workers. Continue reading

National origin discrimination is not something that tends to get as much media play as, say, sexual harassment or disability discrimination. But in terms of employment law cases, it accounts for more than 1 in 10 of those filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (as of 2015). That figure is even higher in states like California (16.6 percent) where populations are more diverse. It comprises more than 18 percent of EEOC complaints generated in new Mexico.worker

The prohibition on national origin discrimination is spelled out in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law applicable to all companies with 15 or more employees. It extends to all employees – and applicants – for jobs in the U.S.

National origin discrimination isn’t always obvious, but given its increasing pervasiveness, the EEOC updated its enforcement guidelines, which supersedes the previous compliance manual. These guidelines are meant to serve not only as a road map for the EEOC, but also as a clear warning to companies and a notice to workers of what is acceptable and what is not. Continue reading

According to a recent news story from Bring Me The News, big box retailer Target has just agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a complaint by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It was alleged the screening process for job applicants the retailer used was discriminatory.

to-sign-a-contract-3-1221952-mThe money collected as part of the settlement agreement will be given to the roughly 3,000 candidates who were allegedly rejected for higher-level positions with the retailer. The reason these applicants were rejected, according to EEOC, is because the test instruments utilized in the screening process were allegedly discriminatory against African Americans, Asians and women. EEOC said several of these tests were not even job-related. More specifically, it was not that there was one thing in these tests you point to and say was discriminatory, but when the results are reviewed in the context of the gender, ethnicity and national origin of the applicants, it was clear to EEOC that there was a discriminatory impact. Continue reading

Undocumented workers and their right to enter the country, remain in the country, and work here have become a major topic for the candidates for the Republican nomination for the upcoming presidential election. By now, everyone has heard Donald Trump’s feelings on the Mexican immigrants who enter this country each year, and we have heard the opposition to his comments and also from his supporters.

uscapitolRegardless of anyone’s personal feelings on issues of immigration and undocumented workers, there can be no question that California is very much in the middle of this issue, based upon the number of foreign born workers living in the state. Many of these individuals are working on the many farms throughout our state. According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, California legislators are working on a measure that would specifically allow work permits to be issued to farm workers who are not legally in this country. Continue reading