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Overview of national origin discrimination

People who call the Denver area home come from all parts of the world. Some are relatively recent arrivals both to Colorado and to the United States, while others may have lived here with their families for most or even all of their lives.

Both federal law and Colorado's laws protect those who come from different lands from workplace discrimination based on where they are from. At its most basic level, this means no employer in Colorado can fire, refuse to hire, punish, fail to promote, or take other adverse actions against someone because of their national origin.

However, there are other forms that national origin discrimination can take as well. As with other types of discrimination, for instance, employers must not tolerate an environment in which co-workers from using offensive remarks and jokes about an employee's national origin are allowed.

If an employer does not take steps to prevent this type of harassment, then a victim may be able to sue on the basis that his or her employer tolerated a hostile work environment.

Likewise, employers may not adopt certain workplace rules and policies if the effect would be to single out or make life more difficult on people from different companies.

For example, employers may not adopt English only rules or require fluency in English unless the requirement is necessary for the employer to achieve a legitimate business purpose. For instance, while a service call center may require its employees to speak English to English-speaking customers, requiring English-only even during employee breaks would be suspect.

A person who feels that he or she was discriminated against because of his or her national origin may have legal options available to him or her. An attorney with experience in discrimination law can help people understand their rights and options.

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