Federal and state laws prohibit employers, places of public accommodation, and landlords from discriminating against a person because of his or her national origin; in other words, what country they are from. An employer may not base its employment decisions on an employee’s birthplace, ancestry, culture, or accent. The law forbids national origin discrimination relating to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, training, benefits, or other job conditions.
Harassment might include adverse comments or jokes about a person’s national origin or accent. The law also protects employees from discrimination because of their marriage to or association with persons of a different national origin. Similarly, an employer may not discriminate against an employee due to membership in an association or organization that is identified with a national origin group.
Some examples of national origin discrimination include treating you less favorably than other employees because you dress according to the customs of your native country or you talk with an accent, hiring only US citizens or in an interview asking you about where you come from, or having “English Only” rule and disciplines or terminates you for violating it even though speaking English is not required for your job’s needs.
Attorney David Cole served for approximately eight years as a Commissioner on New Hampshire’s Commission for Human Rights, the state agency that enforces New Hampshire’s discrimination laws in the workplace, and has aggressively advocated for victims of illegal discrimination and harassment in the workplace, in housing, and in their private lives for 30 years.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance because they are the victim of national origin discrimination, call us at 800-909-LAWS (5297) or submit an online questionnaire through this website. All cases are subject to a statute of limitations that limit the dates within which a lawsuit may be brought, and discrimination cases in particular have very short statutes of limitation, some as short as six months, so call without delay to ensure you do not waive your right to bring a lawsuit to enforce your rights.