National origin discrimination in New Jersey is when an employee or job applicant is harassed or treated unfairly because of his or her nationality, citizenship, foreign accent, or culture as it relates to the nation of origin. These actions are illegal and punishable under federal and New Jersey state laws. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of national origin discrimination in New Jersey receive the justice they deserve.
What Is Discrimination Based on National Origin in New Jersey?
National origin discrimination in New Jersey is when an employer, supervisor/manager, CEO, fellow employee/co-worker, or non-employee harasses or treats an employee or job applicant unfairly based on the perceived or actual nationality or citizenship status. National origin relates to the following characteristics:
- Foreign accent
- Foreign language or dialect
- Style of dress or clothing
- Physical appearance
National origin can also relate to any other characteristic associated with your cultural and national background, including your association with a person or people of a different national origin, or your perceived national origin. The protections also extend to areas whoa re not recognized as a nation, such as refugees from a defunct country. Finally, your citizenship status in the US can also be part of your national origin and is protected under the law.
What Evidence Is Used to Help Prove National Origin Discrimination in New Jersey?
In order to prove national origin discrimination in New Jersey, you must prove that you were treated unfairly or harassed because of your nationality or ethnicity as discussed above. This type of evidence can come in three different forms.
- Direct Evidence. This is the type of evidence that is hardest to come by but is the most effective. Many people refer to this as “the smoking gun.” Direct evidence is the verbal or written communication in which your employer or supervisor states that you are being harassed or treated unfairly because of your nation of origin. This may be directly stated to you or may be stated to another person about you.
- Disparate Evidence. Disparate Evidence is much more common. This the evidence that shows a cause and effect relationship between your national origin and the unfair treatment or harassment you have endured. With disparate evidence, you must show that your supervisor/manager, fellow employee, non-employee, or employer became aware of your national origin or the national origin of your spouse, and then, within a short time frame, you were treated poorly or harassed.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence is produced when a policy is discriminatory in nature, leading to a need to discriminate against someone for national origin. The policy, itself, can act as evidence in your favor for your national origin discrimination lawsuit.
What Are Examples of National Origin Discrimination in New Jersey?
National origin discrimination can come in many forms. Some examples of national origin discrimination include:
- Maintaining a culture of only hiring employees from North America and Europe.
- Telling an employee to, “go back to where you came from.”
- Demoting an employee because he has a thick foreign accent which does not affect his work product.
- Cutting an employee’s hours because English is her second language.
- Refusing an employee the opportunity to work on a project because of her ethnicity.
- Terminating an employee who complained to HR about the constant jokes he endured regarding his culture.
- Not allowing an employee to speak any language besides English in the workplace even when doing so doe not affect his job performance.
- Terminating an employee who is married to a person of a different national origin.
- Not allowing an employee to wear traditional ethnic clothing that would otherwise be appropriate in the workplace.
- Refusing to hire a job applicant because she is not from the US.
- Only requesting the right to work papers from people who look like they may not be from the US, as opposed to any employee applying for a position.
Does Discrimination Against a Non-US Citizen Fall Under National Origin Discrimination in New Jersey?
According to the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), passed in Congress in 1986, it is illegal to harass or treat an employee or job applicant unfairly based on his or her citizenship or immigration status. This means that an employee cannot only hire US citizens or lawful permanent residences of the US unless the government contract or law specifically requires otherwise. It also makes sure that employers accept any lawful documentation that establishes an employee’s or job applicant’s right to work in the US. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee or job applicant for asserting these rights. Any violation of the IRCA would fall under national origin discrimination and is illegal.
What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Lawsuit for National Origin Discrimination in New Jersey?
Victims of National Origin Discrimination are protected by several laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on national origin, among other protected statuses, such as race, religion, and so on. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) overseas complaint which are filed under this law. If you are the victim of national origin discrimination in the workplace, you have a time limit of 300 days to file your complaint. The EEOC will then investigate the complaint and issue a Right to Sue Letter if your complaint is determined to be a Title VII violation.
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), a person who is the victim of national origin discrimination in New Jersey has a time limit of 2 years to file a lawsuit against the employer.
What Remedies Are Offered Through the Courts for National Origin Discrimination in New Jersey?
Anyone who has been victimized by national origin dissemination in the workplace in New Jersey should be entitled to justice, in the form of relief from the court. Some of the available remedies for this charge include:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for national origin discrimination
- Review and revamp discriminatory policies
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
How Long Does a National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit Take to Settle in New Jersey?
A national origin discrimination lawsuit in New Jersey can last 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement prior to going to trial, the lawsuit may settle within 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer refuses to negotiate or wants to take the case to trial, your lawsuit may take a year or longer to prepare for trial and then another few days to several weeks until a judgment is entered.
A Few Things You Can Do Right Now
If you are the victim of national origin discrimination in New Jersey, there are a few things you can do to help start the process of filing a lawsuit.
- Consult with an experienced New Jersey National Origin attorney immediately.
- If you have any HR department, report the discrimination.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job until consulting with an attorney.
- If your company has the policy to deal with national origin discrimination, follow its protocol.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident of discrimination, who was involved, where and when it occurred, and whether any witnesses were present.
- Do not waste time. The law provides clear time limits to file your claim for national origin discrimination. Do not wait until it is too late to do so.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey National Origin Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Every employee has the right to work in a workplace free of harassment and unfair treatment based on where their nationality. If you are the victim of national origin discrimination in New Jersey, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination