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National Origin Discrimination

Our team of employment lawyers in Nashville fights for workers who have been discriminated against due to their national origin and ethnic background. If you have been fired or otherwise treated poorly compared to coworkers of different backgrounds, contact us online or at the number above.

National origin discrimination occurs when you are harassed, ridiculed, or otherwise discriminated against because of real or perceived traits of your race, ethnicity, or religious group, including physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics. For instance, it is unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less because of prejudicial stereotypes surrounding the employee’s ethnic background or because the employee has a dark complexion. Under federal law, discrimination based on accent can also constitute national origin discrimination.

Overview of Anti-Discrimination Laws

National origin discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA), and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Title VII covers Tennessee employers with 15 or more employees whereas the THRA covers employers with 8 or more employees. Even more broad, the INA covers employers with as few as 4 employees. Based on these laws, employers generally cannot use race, ethnicity, or national origin as motivating factors for an adverse employment decisions such as termination, demotion, or lay off.

Associational Discrimination

Importantly, associational discrimination is also prohibited. So, for example, a white employee who is terminated because she is married to someone of Middle Eastern descent is a victim of unlawful discrimination under Title VII. Also, the harasser and the victim do not need to be of different backgrounds; national origin discrimination committed by an individual of the same ethnic background is still unlawful.

Potential Legal Claims

National origin discrimination legal claims may include discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and unequal pay.

To receive a free online case review of your claims, contact our skilled Nashville employment lawyers online or at the number above.

Unlawful Retaliation for Reporting Workplace Discrimination

If you are currently experiencing national origin or ethnic discrimination at work, you are probably worried about losing your job if you complain to human resources. Although this concern is legitimate, federal and state laws prohibit retaliation after an employee reports workplace discrimination.

The scope of this protection includes filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, reporting discrimination to human resources, or notifying your supervisor that discrimination is occurring. As such, you cannot be legally fired, demoted, or treated poorly for complaining about workplace discrimination.

Proving a National Origin Discrimination Claim in Tennessee

The first step in proving a discrimination claim is to raise a presumption that the employer unlawfully discriminated against you. To do so, an employee must show he or she:

  • (1) is a member of a protected class;
  • (2) was qualified for the position;
  • (3) suffered an adverse employment action (such as termination or demotion); and
  • (4) was replaced by an individual outside the protected class or treated differently than a similarly-situated person outside the protected class.

Together, these four elements are called a prima facie case of discrimination. Usually, the first three elements of a prima facie case are undisputed while the fourth element is contested.

Once an employee establishes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its actions (e.g., bad performance, poor behavior, absenteeism, etc.). After the employer does so, the employee must show the employer’s reason is pretext for discrimination. Pretext is just a fancy lawyer way of saying the employer’s stated reason is meant to cover up unlawful discrimination.

How Much Is a Tennessee Discrimination Case Worth?

Employees who suffer national origin discrimination can seek monetary and equitable relief, including back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and reinstatement. The value of a given workplace discrimination case varies significantly based on many factors, including the legal claims available, the severity of the discrimination, how much money you have lost in earnings and benefits, the type and quality of evidence, whether or not you reported the discrimination, and if the harasser or company has discriminated against workers in the past.

Know Your Employment Law Rights – Take Action Today

It’s time to fight back. Receive your free online case review by contacting our Nashville-based employment lawyers online or at the number above.

Client Reviews
Curt worked diligently and maintained excellent communication with my case. He made sure to keep us updated about any and everything. I highly recommend Rickard Masker, PLC. Would give more stars if possible. Jeffrey
Curt really came through for me when a previous employer had reported my job title and hire dates incorrectly, he got it corrected within 12 hours of speaking to him about it! I would recommend him for any of your legal needs as he is quite efficient! Renee
Curt was very responsive from the beginning. He made it a very easy process, and he provided excellent guidance in the review of my severance agreement. Due, in part, to Curt's thoughtful suggestions in regards to changing some key language in the agreement that would protect both me and my former employer, they agreed to the changes. To protect yourself during job transition, a review of a severance agreement is a smart thing to do, and Curt will do an excellent job on your behalf. Thomas
Curt handled a case for me and did an unbelievable job in getting a resolution and a great settlement. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Teena