In this day and age, immigrants and those perceived to be of different national origin have experienced an uptick in violence and discrimination. This trend has unfortunately affected the workplace as well, though the statistics do not necessarily reflect it. If you believe that you have been discriminated against based on your national origin—or perceived national origin—you may have a case against your employer.
A Difficult Climate To Be An Immigrant
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports a significant rise in both violent victimization and serious violent victimization of Hispanic people since 2015. The statistics in reporting claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have not mirrored this trend, but there are different reasons for this. Very often, workers are unaware that they can make a claim, and when they do, they may not do it in the manner required.
None of this changes that discrimination based on national origin is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. National origin is what the law calls a protected characteristic, along with race, gender, and ethnicity. Pregnancy and disability are also considered protected characteristics, though these were codified into law at a later date. If someone discriminates against you on the basis of your national origin, it is grounds to seek redress from your employer, from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC), or the EEOC.
You Can Bring A Claim
Be advised that you do not actually have to have a different national origin for you to be discriminated against on that basis. If someone perceives you to be of a different national origin, that is enough to file a complaint, because the intent to discriminate is still there. Even if no intent exists, you may be able to seek compensation because a policy may be discriminatory in practice. For example, a policy banning beards may appear facially neutral, but in practice it will disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups like the Sikh.
You may also bring a claim based on national origin discrimination even if you are undocumented. The Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) stops employers from refusing to hire non-U.S. citizens (including the undocumented) unless they are required by law to stay within that hiring pool. While an employer may not knowingly hire undocumented people, once they have been hired, they are required not to discriminate once an undocumented person has been hired.
Call An Experienced Attorney Today
In the last few years, it has become more and more dangerous and difficult to be an immigrant in this country. If you feel you have been discriminated against due to your national origin (or perceived national origin), contacting an experienced attorney is the first step you should take. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has years of experience in handling these types of cases, and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts is happy to work for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.