In this day and age, one of the most common types of discrimination in employment is national origin discrimination. This is discriminating against someone based on their real or perceived national origin or ethnicity. In today’s politically charged climate, it can be a particularly volatile allegation for an employee to bring against their employer. If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of your national origin, having an attorney to help you navigate the process can be crucial.
Real and Perceived National Origin
The victim does not have to actually be of the alleged national origin for the conduct to count as discriminatory. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when dealing with national origin discrimination.
The relevant Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance explicitly states that perceived national origin is still a protected characteristic for purposes of discrimination claims. In addition, the person who has been discriminated against does not have to be of the real or perceived national origin; they may live with or be married to someone who is.
Some anti-discrimination laws only apply to employers with a certain number of employees. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to any employer with 15 or more workers.
Antidiscrimination laws also apply to undocumented immigrants, so if you are undocumented, do not be afraid of potential repercussions; if they occur, you do have options with regard to filing a complaint or bringing suit.
If you believe that you are being discriminated against or have experienced negative employment action as a result of your national origin, the next step is to contact your employer’s human resources department. If they do not take action, you should then file a charge with either the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) or the EEOC. Be advised that the filing deadline may differ depending on your particular situation; generally, the time limit is 180 days from the date of the discriminatory action, but in some cases, up to 300 days afterward is permissible.
After an investigation, and possibly attempts at mediation, the agency may either take your case or decline to do so. If the SCHAC or EEOC does not take up your case, though, it is critical to understand that this does not mean you have no case. The EEOC, in particular, has limited resources and cannot necessarily take every case; if it does not, then it will grant a “right-to-sue” letter which essentially ends the agency’s investigation and allows you free rein to move ahead.
Contact A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Lawyer
While the political climate may be charged, this does not mean that your rights as an applicant or an employee should change. If you have experienced a negative employment action, contacting a South Carolina employment discrimination lawyer is a good first step toward determining how to proceed. The firm of Hitchcock & Potts has years of experience with these cases, and we can offer effective and compassionate representation. Call us today to schedule an appointment.