National Origin

National origin discrimination in Illinois occurs when an employee is treated different based on ethnicity or accent. You may file a claim under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  If you file under the Act you can file your claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").  The employer may not make any employment decision based on national origin.  Now of course many times the employer is not stupid enough to tell you he is going to engage in discrimination  based on your national origin.  It takes experience to determine how best to get evidence that you are being singled out.  Also, a negative job action could follow you throughout your working career so it is important you take action.

Additionally, employers must take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment which is based on the national origin of an employee or the perceived national origin. For example, if an employee is from Spain but the other employee think this person is from Iran and harass the individual based on this false assumption, the employee being harassed would have a valid national origin claim based on the false assumption that he was from Iran.  I know it sounds complicated and many times it is.  This is another reason not to go it alone.

An employer may not have English only rules for employees unless the job requires it or for safety reasons.  Also, unless an employees accent materially affects the employees job performance, an employer may not discipline the employee based on his accent.  Many times employees may make fun of a person because of their national origin and this should be reported to management.

Because of the war on terror and the sentiment of the nation after 9-11, many patriotic people of various nationalities are being subjected to discrimination.  We are a nation of immigrants and the melting pot of the world.  It is unlawful for an employer or the employees of an employer to target you because of your national origin.  Although all nationalities are protected, right now people from Middle Eastern nations seem to be getting the most discrimination based on national origin.

A thorough investigation of the facts is required to ferret out whether you are the victim of discrimination based on national origin or religion.  I see an overlap on these two categories and in some cases it requires filing on both.  Remember in Illinois you can only file a claim of racial discrimination if you are white, black or Asian.  Any other group must file a discrimination claim based on ancestry or national origin.

Don't be afraid to stand up for your rights.  I am here to help protect your rights and to protect your ability to work.   If you believe you are being targeted, keep a log, save emails and text messages and report your concerns in writing to the company.  Don't let ignorant people at work ruin your day or career.  With the horrible economy other employees are looking for scape goats to blame their problems on.  It is important that you don't fall victim to these types of people.

Please contact Pete at 312-505-5038 if you believe you are a victim of discrimination.  I won't charge you to discuss your case and I am available when other attorneys are not.  And because I answer my own telephone you can speak directly with me.