Articles Tagged with 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.

Continue reading

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

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

Harsh working conditions in the food processing industry are nothing new. The struggle of immigrants working in a meatpacking factory was one of the main stories in “The Jungle,” by Upton Sinclair.

One would hope  though that in today’s modern era of regulation and an emphasis on workers’ rights, there would not be contemporary examples of unfair employment practices in this industry, especially for immigrant workers.

job-concept-1445172-4-mAccording to a recent article from Food Production Daily, a major beef processor has just been fined $200,000 for allegedly engaging in unfair employment practices.   The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the hefty fine against the company after DOJ and the company had reached a settlement agreement to end the litigation. Continue reading