Articles Posted in Ethnicity / National Origin Discrimination

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star-of-davidThe New Jersey Herald reported on a recent federal case from Louisiana declared that discrimination based upon an employment candidate’s Jewish heritage could constitute racial discrimination in violation of federal law. The employee’s attorney declared the ruling to be “precedent-setting.” While this recent case does not have precedential impact in New Jersey, it is a useful opportunity to analyze the rights and protections available to New Jersey employees who find themselves in this type of situation. If you have been the victim of discrimination because of your heritage or someone’s perception about your heritage, you may have a claim in New Jersey. Talk an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney to find out more about your situation.

In the recent federal case, an alumnus of a Baptist college in Louisiana applied for a coaching position. The college president allegedly refused to hire the man because of his “Jewish blood.” (The candidate’s mother was Jewish.) The case was not one of religious discrimination, as the candidate was not a practitioner of the Jewish religion. The candidate was born into a Jewish family but converted to Christianity during his time at the school and on the football team, according to the Herald.

So, what might happen to a similar employment candidate in New Jersey? The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination bans employment discrimination based upon “race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender, gender identity, disability, nationality, military status, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait.” Within that heading of creed is protection against discrimination based upon your religious belief or practices.

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Legal News GavelThere are many different areas in which an employer can be liable for illegal discrimination. An employer isn’t liable, though, if the employee didn’t meet the qualifications for the job in question. Thus, if a job’s legal requirements demand that the employee be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen is technically not qualified for that job. If citizenship isn’t a requirement, though, an employer’s decision to discriminate against a non-citizen based upon his national origin could give the non-citizen a potential case. If you’ve been a victim of discrimination based upon your national origin, you should contact a knowledgeable New Jersey nationality discrimination attorney promptly to discuss your case.

One non-citizen whose case presented such a scenario was James, a campus security guard at a private research university in Hoboken. James had emigrated to the United States in 1992 and married an American woman, but he never became a citizen himself. Shortly after arriving in the United States, James started his campus security employment. The employer did not require that its campus security officers be U.S. citizens and knew that James was not when it hired him.

After a former investigator from the local prosecutor’s office became chief of campus security, the new chief allegedly began recruiting his friends and former associates to the campus force. Some campus officers referred to the campus security force as a “retirement home for ex-cops.” According to James, the chief began looking for ways to terminate him in order to recruit a friend to fill James’ position.

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Legal News GavelIf you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, there may be many things that may occur to you as responses to the harm you’ve suffered. One of these responses should not be to attempt to take on your employer in court and pursue litigation on your own. While you doubtlessly understand the facts of your case and how the illegal conduct harmed you, there is much more to pursuing a discrimination or harassment action than just those things. It is this “more” where having an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney on your side can be enormously valuable to you and your case.

A couple of recent federal cases demonstrate this truth in clear and unfortunate detail. In one case, Hatem was a dockworker at a dairy. According to Hatem, he suffered frequent and severe harassment based upon his heritage and religion. Hatem, who was a Palestinian and a Muslim, allegedly received taunts calling him a terrorist, quizzing him regarding the location of his camel, and questioning why he went by the western nickname of “Freddie.” This harassment came not only from co-workers but from a supervisor as well, allegedly.

Hatem launched a religious and national origin discrimination lawsuit under Title VII. Hatem, however, decided to proceed without a lawyer. The dockworker never had the chance to prove that the discrimination he suffered met the standard for liability under Title VII. In fact, he never made it to trial. Why? He never managed to complete properly the process of serving notice of the lawsuit against his employer.

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Legal News GavelThere may be various bases for asserting that you are entitled to pursue a federal employment discrimination case. Certainly, being an African-American or a person of Mexican origin can allow you to assert claims under Title VII. But what if you were subjected to discrimination because you are, say, Armenian…or Kurdish…or Palestinian? A recent case involving a New Jersey high school presented this type of issue for the federal courts here to decide. The case also highlights that a knowledgeable New Jersey national origin discrimination attorney can help you utilize the protections of Title VII to assert your rights to the fullest extent that the law allows.

The employee, Sireen, was a high school history teacher hired by a New Jersey public school district in January 2013 as a student teacher. Shortly thereafter, the school offered Sireen a full-time position.

Allegedly, the problems started soon after she started teaching full-time. Sireen showed her class a video featuring Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. The video had been recommended by another teacher (a white woman) who had showed it to her students. Allegedly, a parent complained to the principal about Sireen, and a supervisor told Sireen that she “could not teach current events in the same manner as her non-Arab, non-Palestinian, and non-Muslim colleagues.”

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