In California it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee the basis of their national origin. Employees who are victims of such discrimination often have a potential legal claim under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, which forbids harassment or discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, layoffs, training, and employee benefits.
National Origin Discrimination
National origin discrimination can take a variety of different forms in the workplace, some of which can be subtler than others. National origin discrimination is considered to be illegal when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). National origin discrimination can also involve treating employees unfavorably because they are married to (or associated with) a person of a certain national origin, or because of their connection with an ethnic organization or group.
Examples of national origin discrimination may include the following:
- Ethnic slurs, verbal abuse, and put-downs that create a hostile work environment
- Requiring an applicant to supply a maiden name or spouse’s name
- Failing to hire, train, mentor or promote a person based on their national origin
- Eliminating candidates because of their national origin
- Imposing unnecessary height/weight requirements
- Job threats & intimidation
State and Federal law prohibit employers from unlawful retaliation against employees who oppose national origin discrimination or participate in an anti-discriminatory proceeding, even if they are “at-will” employees. If an employee has been fired in retaliation for engaging in such activities, they may have a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.