Adverse employment action because of accent is illegal

May 17, 2015 1 COMMENTS

by Joseph Cooper

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, and job assignments. Because an employee’s accent or language skills are often associated with her national origin, employment decisions based on those characteristics are scrutinized closely by courts and administrative tribunals. A recent decision from the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) illustrates that point.  Time for a conversation

Teacher wants to take English classes

read more…

Tribal hiring preference not national origin discrimination

February 15, 2015 1 COMMENTS

by Nancy Williams

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers on or near an Indian reservation to give preferential treatment to Indians living in the vicinity. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that this provision doesn’t permit preference for members of a particular tribe. In the continuing saga of a case that has dragged on for years, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal (whose rulings apply to all Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington employers) recently issued its third decision, finally ruling against the EEOC.  The Right Candidate

Coal company leases have Navajo hiring preference

read more…

The good, the bad, and the ‘feo’ of the American workplace’s Latinization

August 17, 2014 2 COMMENTS

by Glianny Fagundo

The American workplace is becoming more diverse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculated that 14.8 percent of the U.S. labor force was Hispanic in 2010. That number is expected to jump to 18.6 percent by 2020which translates to roughly one in five workers. While many see such diversification as a positive development (and it is in many ways), it doesn’t automatically lead to a utopian, racially integrated environment.  DiverseWorkforce

This article discusses some of the positive contributions Hispanics can make to workplaces, ways in which you can maximize and reward productivity, and considerations you must give to ethnic and color tensions that may exist among employees who share the “Hispanic” ethnic designation.

read more…

National origin discrimination and race discrimination aren’t the same thing

July 14, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin McCormick

In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland affirmed the notion that discrimination on the basis of race and discrimination based on national origin are distinct legal claims. Moreover, because 42 USC § 1981 only prohibits discrimination based on race, a claim alleging national origin discrimination under the Act has little chance of success. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting decision.

Background facts

read more…

Title VII verdict upheld for Egyptian-American Muslim employed by BSA

June 16, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Rosemary B. Guiltinan

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals  recently upheld a jury verdict in favor of an Egyptian-American Muslim employee of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) who claimed the BSA denied him career advancement opportunities based on his national origin and religion. The court upheld the verdict because the employer failed to show the evidence was “overwhelmingly inconsistent” with the jury’s decision.


Kamal Aly, an Egyptian-American Muslim, began working as a district executive for the BSA’s Mohegan Council in August 2001. During his first two years with the BSA, he completed two professional development trainings and received positive annual performance reviews. read more…

When world events hit the workplace

December 16, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Mark Schickman

Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that charges of discrimination based on religion and national origin are the fastest growing categories in the past decade. Of course, that coincides with the aftermath of 9/11 and, rational or not, American anger and suspicions over Middle Eastern Arab communities. This shift in public mood creates a problem for HR professionals, whose job it is to ensure a workplace free from discrimination and harassment―a prejudice-free island in an ocean littered with group hatred. That’s no easy job, as United Parcel Service (UPS) was reminded recently. read more…

Say what? Asking employees to take language classes

October 14, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Brad Cave

Q: Will I be in violation of federal discrimination laws if I provide an “English as a second language” (ESL) employee English language training at the company’s expense?

A Any possible discrimination charge under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be based on national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has promulgated express guidelines for employers with employees who don’t speak English as their primary language. The agency has recognized that employers sometimes have legitimate business reasons for basing employment decisions on linguistic characteristics, but because those characteristics are closely associated with national origin, you must be careful to ensure that the business reasons you rely on justify any burdens placed on employees because of their national origin.

read more…

Egyptian Copt Claims Race and National Origin Discrimination

July 17, 2011 0 COMMENTS

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on several protected classes, including race and national origin. In the following case, an Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) physician claimed that his ethnicity and national origin prompted the revocation of his hospital privileges. Read on to learn how the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) handled his claims.

“Sham” Peer Review Leads to Federal Court Case

read more…

Bias In the Friendly Skies

May 15, 2011 0 COMMENTS

Many employers have had more than their fair share of discrimination allegations. Continental Airlines was accused of race, color, national origin, religious, and disability discrimination in one lawsuit. Let’s take a look at how it did more than its fair share of trying to work with the employee before eventually terminating him.

Losing Control

Meet Alfred Toronka, a black airline employee from Sierra Leone and a Seventh-day Adventist who also expressed a belief in voodoo. He was hired by Continental Airlines in 1997 to work as a material specialist in its technical operations department; driving was one of his essential job functions. He was terminated in 2008. read more…