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Illustrative image depicting a situation of Nationality Discrimination in a New York City Workplace.

Nationality Discrimination is Illegal in New York State

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Nationality Discrimination Law Cases.

Nationality Discrimination in New York State

Have you been discriminated against based on your country of nationality at work in New York City or New York State?

National original discrimination happens when an employee is treated differently because he, she or they are from a particular country, or has personal characteristics that are associated with a particular region (for example ethnicity, accent, or physical appearance).

Illustrative image depicting a situation of Nationality Discrimination in a New York City Workplace.

Illustrative image depicting a situation of Nationality Discrimination in a New York City Workplace.

National origin discrimination is a violation of both Federal and New York Laws. All these laws make it illegal to discriminate someone on the basis of their national origin. National origin discrimination in the workplace falls under a few categories:

Language Discrimination

While employers may have legitimate business reasons to enforce language requirements in very limited circumstance. For example, to communicate with customers who speak English or another language, these requirements should be closely scrutinized to make sure that they are not in violation of Federal and New York Laws.

An employment decision based on language fluency or accent is deemed legitimate only if an employer can provide evidence demonstrating that

  1. the effective spoken use of English (or other language) is necessary to perform job duties and
  2. an individual’s fluency or accent really interferes with his, her or their ability to communicate.

It would be unlawful, for example, to implement an “English-only” policy at work to avoid having to listen to others speak in foreign languages (for example, an English-only policy preventing foreign languages during lunch hour), to generate a reason for terminating someone who is not a native English speaker, or to create a hostile work environment for non-English speakers (for example, harassment for speaking Spanish to your co-worker!).

Who is liable?

Under New York Law, when a manager or supervisor engages in national origin discrimination, the employer itself is liable. Where a co-worker engages in national origin harassment, the employer is likewise liable if it knew or should have known (in other about the instances of discrimination and failed to take appropriate corrective action.

Employers are liable for harassment by their customers or clients if they know or should have known about the harassment and fail to act.

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