National origin and religion are not protected classes under Title VII, so discrimination based on these factors is so rampant in the United States. In this article, we will discuss what constitutes discrimination based on national origin or religion according to federal law and state law for California. We will also provide examples of cases that have been prosecuted for protecting individuals from such discriminatory practices.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and any person connected to hiring practices. The act also protects employees who are discriminated against because they complain about unfair treatment at work. However, Title VII does not cover all instances where an individual is subject to national origin or religious-based discrimination; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws prohibiting job bias under these categories. To be considered a protected class under Title VII’s provisions on national origin-based discriminatory actions, individuals must have birthplace outside United States territory or citizenship that includes birthright privileges granted to foreigners. Therefore if an employee was born inside the U.S., but one parent was foreign-born, they may still be protected under Title VII.
On the other hand, religion falls into a different category and is not limited to creed or tenets of faith that can be seen as discriminating against others; individuals must show their religious beliefs are sincerely held for them to receive protection from unfair treatment based on this factor alone.
It is illegal to discriminate against an employee in California because they belong to a particular race or color group (CA Civil Code 51). The state also has laws protecting employees who need time off due to medical conditions related to pregnancy (C.A. Government Code 12945) and those whose place of national origin may make them subject to discriminatory employment practices (Labor Codes 1171-1179). State law prohibits employers with five or more workers from making employment decisions based on race, color, religion, or national origin.
In December of 2017, a Houston man filed a lawsuit against the iconic fast-food restaurant Chick-Fil-A for religious discrimination after being fired from his position as manager at the company’s location in Humble, Texas, only nine days into his new job. The defendant allegedly believed that because the plaintiff is Muslim and fasting during Ramadan thus could not work an overnight shift required by promotion to branch manager. While there have been no updates since this case was first reported last, it demonstrates how difficult it can be to prove these types of claims even when employees believe they are experiencing discriminatory practices due to their nationality or creed.
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