Although born overseas, you are now a naturalized U.S. citizen. Idaho has been your home for some years, the majority of which you have worked for a prominent Idaho IT company. Recently, the company has hired a new employee who has supervisory authority over you. You have sensed that your new supervisor holds negative views regarding your country of birth and culture. He has made comments, heard by other employees, that you find hurtful and degrading. You are hesitant to complain to a manager, fearing possible retaliation and an escalation of hostility. You dread seeing your new supervisor and are unsure what to do next or with whom you can consult.

If the above scenario sounds familiar, your next move should be to contact a law firm that focuses on national origin discrimination law in the workplace. Fortunately, such a firm exists in Boise, Idaho Employment Law Solutions. Led by Lieutenant Colonel USMC (Ret) R.A. (Ron) Coulter, Esq., the firm is knowledgeable and skilled in these related fields of the law. For a $75 initial consultation fee, we will give you a preliminary estimate if you may have a potential national origin discrimination claim.

A respected member of the Idaho State Bar and of the local African-American community, combining the determination and work ethic of a marine who rose through the ranks due to his demonstrable talents with a seasoned and analytical legal mind, Mr. Coulter will advise you as to the strengths and weaknesses of your potential national origin discrimination legal claim. If it is determined that you do have a claim, he and his firm are there to work tirelessly on your behalf and to guide you through the complex legal process. You could ask for no better advocate to protect your legal rights.

What is National Origin Discrimination?

National origin discrimination is based on your ancestry and the country from which you or your forebearers came. It is often closely related to both religious and racial discrimination, as you and your ancestors may have migrated to the U.S. from a country that was religiously and racially homogeneous. It can also be based upon the language and unique cultural aspects of your ancestral homeland.

National origin discrimination occurs when an employee or a prospective employee is harassed or receives otherwise unfair or hostile treatment due to their nationality, citizenship or immigration status.

Pursuant to federal law, an employer cannot discriminate because of national origin against an employee, or a prospective employee, at any phase in the employment process, from hiring to the conditions of employment to the termination.

It is also violative of the law for an employer to use recruitment practices that would deliberately and intentionally exclude candidates of a particular nationality from a position.

Employers may not permit and may be liable for conduct in their workplace in which a hostile work environment develops due to harassing remarks made about the national origins of some of their employees. They have an affirmative responsibility to stop or correct such conduct. The likelihood of employer liability increases if the offending remarks were made by a manager or supervisor.

Federal law prohibits an employer from retaliating against or terminating an employee who has filed a national origin discrimination claim.

Workplace National Origin Harassment and Discrimination

Any workplace harassment or discrimination predicated on a dislike of the employee’s national origin is strictly prohibited by both federal and Idaho state law.

Typical examples of workplace national origin harassment or discrimination include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A supervisor or co-worker telling an employee in an unfriendly manner to go back to where you came from;
  • A supervisor making remarks about the “thickness” of your accent and withholding projects, or contacts with clients from you for that reason;
  • A refusal to promote you because of your national origin; and
  • A company policy that mandates that employees must only speak English at work, even for matters that are not work-related.

What Laws Protect You at Work from National Origin Discrimination?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from national origin discrimination. Pursuant to the statute, negative employment decisions regarding a worker cannot be based upon an individual’s national origin. The protections afforded by the statute apply to entities that employ 15 or more employees.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) provides additional protections. IRCA applies to companies that employ as few as four employees. In the pertinent part, it provides that non-citizens who hold work visas cannot be discriminated against.

Idaho State laws also prohibit national origin discrimination.

How Do You Prove National Origin Discrimination?

National origin discrimination must be proved in a clear manner. That is, you must prove a prima facie case of such discrimination. The elements that are required in national origin discrimination are the same as in other employment discrimination claims. If you are claiming discrimination based upon national origin, you must prove the following:

  • That, pursuant to federal and Idaho State law, you are a member of a protected class. Title VII clearly lists national origin as a protected class;
  • If you were not hired, you must show that you met each of the listed requirements for the position, but were unfairly discriminated against because of your national origin. If employed, you must show that you are performing well at your current job;
  • If you were employed at the company, you must show that you suffered an adverse employment decision, such as a demotion, a failure to be promoted to a position that you were qualified for, a reduction in your salary, or termination or firing;
  • You must show that the person chosen in your stead for the promotion or raise in salary was not a member of a protected class and that this individual was not as qualified as you were.

Once you have set forth your claim, the burden of proof will shift to your employer who will seek to prove that the company’s actions against you were legitimate, none discriminatory, and were not based upon your national origin.

Thereafter, the burden of proof will shift back to you where you must prove that the company’s stated reasons for their actions are untrue and merely a shield for their discriminatory actions against you.

If you live in Idaho and believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your national origin, your first step must be to contact a law firm that is knowledgeable in both employment and national origin discrimination law.

For a small initial consultation fee of $75, Idaho Employment Law Solutions will examine whether your claim has legal merit. If it does, and you decide to retain the firm, they will devise an effective case strategy and explain in detail the many steps required to advance your claim and settle the matter to your satisfaction. If you retain Idaho Employment Law Solutions, you will have the assurance of knowing that they have great experience in litigating national origin discrimination claims and will always advocate diligently on your behalf.

Contact an Idaho National Origin Discrimination Lawyer

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is an African-American and Veteran-owned law firm providing quality and efficient legal counsel to businesses, organizations, employers/employees, as well as individual multi-cultural clients located throughout Idaho.

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is skilled in handling charges of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, national origin and pregnancy submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Idaho Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Idaho Employment Law Solutions has extensive experience in handling complaints by employees about discrimination or harassment before those complaints become official charges of discrimination. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is experienced in guiding its business clients through sexual harassment investigations and provides advice on a case-by-case basis about the most effective way for the employer and employee to address claims of discrimination. Contact us today at (208) 672-6112.

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Ron Coulter at Idaho Employment Law Solutions has been an essential part of my small business team for over 16 years. He worked with my company to develop company handbooks, employment contracts, and employee training. His preventative work was key to our success when faced with an actual employee contract dispute in court. I am grateful to Ron’s attention to detail, phenomenal work ethic, and genuine care for his clients. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is a great partner for small businesses who want to succeed.

Codi Galloway

I was involved in an administrative procedure which could have ultimately led to my termination of employment. I contacted Idaho Employment Law Solutions which is owned and operated by Ron Coulter, a career U.S. Marine Corps Officer.  The qualities that impressed me most about Ron, was that nothing was “sugar coated”, Ron was up-front, straight forward, and Ron told me what to expect at each phase of the administrative process. When I asked a question, Ron always took care to provide a complete answer which very often included a follow-up legal analysis that a lay person could understand. Ron is an outstanding and experienced employment law attorney. He was reassuring and effective in his representation of me in this  administrative procedure.  There is no doubt, that the selection of Idaho Employment Law Solutions was the correct choice

Charlene Hamilton