In California and across the US, discrimination can happen in the workplace. National origin discrimination occurs when company employees or job applicants are treated unfairly based on their national origin, ethnicity or accent, or perceived national origin. This discrimination can also occur between people of the same national origin, or when a person is treated unfairly because he or she is married to someone of a certain national origin.

It is forbidden under the law to discriminate with regard to national origin when hiring, firing, promoting, laying off, training, assigning jobs, paying, and any other employment terms or conditions. It is also unlawful to harass an individual in the workplace based on his or her national origin. Examples of harassment include derogatory statements about someone’s national origin, accent, or ethnicity. Teasing or joking with someone about their national origin, while not prohibited by the law, can become illegal when it happens frequently. This is because repeated action can create a hostile work environment or result in a victim getting fired or demoted.

With regard to workplace discrimination laws, an employer must have policies or practices that will not have a negative impact on individuals based on their national origin. These policies or practices should also be focused on job-related tasks and necessary for business operations. Employers cannot have “English-only” policies, which force employees to speak only English on the job, unless these policies are required for safe and efficient business operation and in place for purely non-discriminatory reasons.

When employees have been discriminated against or fired illegally, they can feel hopeless, but each individual has rights and recourse under the law. A workplace discrimination attorney might be able to help victims get the justice they are owed. No one deserves to be belittled in the workplace based on national origin.