A 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 Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a free case evaluation.