Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination or harassment against individuals due to national origin – a somewhat hazy term which has been interpreted to cover aspects of a person’s identity, including:
- Birthplace or ancestry
- Cultural features
- Linguistic characteristics
Austin national origin discrimination lawyer Andrew Traub represent individuals who have been unfairly or poorly treated because of their national origin, ethnicity, or culture, as well as those who are discriminated against because they marry, associate with, hold beliefs, or take names commonly linked to certain nationalities. Unfortunately, the prejudices associated with certain national origin groups have not yet been eliminated from society, leading to the mistreatment of employees in Austin and around the country.
Linguistics and National Origin Discrimination
One difficult area of national origin discrimination deals with language. Because people of varying nationalities often have distinctive speech patterns or accents, they may be targeted for discrimination through policies which are overly restrictive of language use in the workplace.
A company policy which requires that all employees speak only English, for example, may be construed as a form of national origin discrimination, since it infringes on the employees’ right to speak language of their choosing. A hiring system under which only speakers of fluent, unaccented English are considered valid job applicants would also be considered discriminatory and illegal.
There are some instances, however, in which English-only policies or requirements are legal and appropriate. These instances occur when the use of English (or another common language) is:
- A reasonable requirement for the performance of a given job
- Important for communication with other English-speaking employees or supervisors
- Needed to promote efficiency in group projects
- Vital for ensuring the coordination and safety of employees during an emergency
Sometimes, the only way to deal with nation origin discrimination is through the court system. If you have been discriminated against or harassed by your employer or fellow employees due to your national origin, contact an Austin national origin discrimination lawyer today.