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National Origin Discrimination Against Chinese, Asian Americans Based on Association with the Coronavirus

New York City Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Employees

Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 (coronavirus) are on the rise. An incorrect perception that COVID-19 is transmitted by Asians has given rise to hate crimes against Asian Americans in New York City and elsewhere. The United States has a history of being a nation that embraces all cultures, but unfortunately some employers discriminate against employees based on their national origin, including their racial or ethnic background. If you are mistreated at your job during this period of increased fear around the coronavirus, and you suspect that it is because you are of Chinese or another Asian heritage, you should consult a New York City national origin discrimination lawyer. At Phillips & Associates, we are dedicated to fighting against employment discrimination.

Laws Prohibit National Origin Discrimination

Federal, state, and local laws protect workers in New York City against national origin discrimination in the workplace. The federal law that prohibits national origin discrimination in the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The state law that prohibits national origin discrimination is the New York State Human Rights Law. The city law that prohibits national origin discrimination is the New York City Human Rights Law.

What is National Origin Discrimination?

National origin discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely or less favorably due to his or her country of origin, ancestors’ country of origin, ethnicity, accent, or ethnic background. Employers are not allowed to treat you unfavorably because of your personal characteristics, because of stereotypes or assumptions about people from certain regions of the world, or because of your cultural dress or manner.

It is also illegal to take adverse employment steps based on your ancestry, culture, birthplace, or language. Similarly, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you based on your marriage to or association with people of a national origin group or an organization used by people of that national origin.

Some people erroneously associate the coronavirus with people of Chinese background or from China. In fact, anyone can be infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others, regardless of their ethnic background or country of origin. If your employer has taken adverse steps against you because you are Asian, and it associates you with the coronavirus, our attorneys may be able to help you sue for damages based on national origin discrimination.

An employer also cannot take an adverse step against you in your employment based on concerns about employee relations or a client’s negative reaction. For example, your employer cannot move you from a well-paying customer-facing position to a poorly paying backroom position because customers are concerned about your connection to the coronavirus, due to your ancestry.

What Constitutes Discrimination?

Adverse employment actions that may constitute national origin discrimination include failure to hire, termination, failure to promote, disparate pay, and harassment based on your background being Chinese or Asian, or based on your being perceived to have this background.

If an employer indicates that you are being treated differently because it believes that you might have the coronavirus due to your background or last name, this may be evidence of national origin discrimination. For example, if you are not hired because a prospective employer believes that you are associated with the coronavirus due to your having a Chinese last name, you may have a claim for national origin discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law, as well as state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Similarly, if you are terminated due to a fear that you have the coronavirus because you are Asian, you may have a claim for national origin discrimination.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

You should not face harassment from your coworkers, supervisors, managers, clients, or customers because they believe that you might have the coronavirus due to your ethnic background. Harassment could include slurs, threats, physical abuse, memes, insults, or comments.

Consult a Dedicated Employment Attorney in New York City

COVID-19 has understandably frightened many people, but fear is no excuse to discriminate or allow bigotry on the job. In the workplace, you should be considered on the merits of your work performance, rather than your national origin. If you suspect national origin discrimination at your job, you should call Phillips & Associates. Our lawyers represent employees in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, along with Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or contact us through our online form.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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