Texas jury awarded a white man who was fired $5.8 million in a “national origin discrimination case.” Federal law prohibits employers from treating any employee
worse than another because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or if they
believe the person is of a particular nationality. Examples of national
origin discrimination may include an employer requiring that workers only
speak English, making fun of someone’s accent, or telling ethnic jokes.
National origin discrimination laws were written as the result of the post-911
anti-immigrant atmosphere, but wrongful discrimination can happen to anyone.
In the Texas case, a white HR director was fired by his employer –
El Paso Electric – in order to protect the company from a potential
lawsuit. The vice president of HR testified at trial that because El Paso
Electric feared a lawsuit from a recently fired Hispanic HR director,
they decided to fire the “white guy” as well so the firing
didn’t appear like discrimination.
After the verdict, the HR VP commented, “This case is a reminder
that discrimination laws apply to people of all races and national origin…Employers
need to be aware that white employees will also feel that they are being
discriminated against and not to take them for granted.”
If you believe you have been treated differently at work because of your
nationality or ethnicity,
contact the lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation.