Workplace Harassment

Workplace Harassment Based on National Origin in California Law

In the diverse landscape of California’s workforce, the potential for workplace harassment based on national origin is an unfortunate reality. As such, understanding the legal framework surrounding this issue becomes crucial.

This guide serves to elucidate the intricate facets of California law regarding this type of harassment, with a focus on defining what it entails, outlining the rights of the employees, delineating employer liabilities, and highlighting the preventive measures employers can take.

The discussion also ventures into the impact of anti-immigrant rhetoric on this form of harassment. As you navigate through this guide, you will gain insights that may prove instrumental in identifying, addressing, and ultimately preventing workplace harassment based on national origin.

Defining National Origin Workplace Harassment

National origin harassment, a pervasive problem in the workplace, is defined as the experience of unwelcome conduct or comments based on an individual’s national origin or ancestry, which can significantly alter the conditions of employment and create a hostile work environment.

Such harassment could be attributed to an individual hailing from a certain country or having ancestry tied to a specific ethnicity. In certain scenarios, false assumptions about an individual’s national origin can also lead to such harassment.

Legally, this form of harassment is considered unlawful and could lead to the employer being held liable. The consequences are severe if the employer, upon being aware of such incidents, fails to take necessary action to prevent it, thus generating a toxic working environment.

Legal Rights and Employer Liability

In the context of national origin harassment, both employees and employers have distinct rights and responsibilities under California law. Employees have the right to a workplace free from discriminatory harassment, including that based on national origin. If such harassment occurs, employers may be held liable, particularly if the harasser is a supervisor or if the employer was aware of the harassment and did not take adequate steps to prevent it.

Employers are obligated to enforce policies prohibiting such harassment and provide training to prevent it. Failure to do so can lead to legal action, including lawsuits for damages. Understanding these rights and responsibilities is crucial in maintaining a respectful, inclusive workplace and in protecting all parties from legal repercussions.

Preventive Measures by Employers

To mitigate the risks associated with workplace harassment based on national origin, employers in California are urged to implement proactive measures designed to promote a respectful and inclusive environment. This begins with establishing a clear anti-harassment policy that explicitly mentions national origin.

Such a policy should be communicated to all employees, and supervisors should be trained on its enforcement. Employers are also advised to post and distribute informational material on harassment provided by the California Civil Rights Department.

Furthermore, employers should promptly investigate any reported incidents of harassment and take corrective action if necessary. Lastly, fostering a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion can serve as a powerful deterrent against harassment.

Role of Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

While proactive measures by employers are crucial in combating national origin harassment, it is equally important to consider the influence of external factors such as the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric. This rhetoric, often fueled by political discourse and media, can perpetuate stereotypes and bias, and may infiltrate the workplace, leading to an increase in national origin harassment.

Employers must remain vigilant to this potential influence and actively work to counteract it. This can involve implementing diversity trainings, creating an inclusive company culture, and swiftly addressing any incidences of harassment. By acknowledging and addressing the role of anti-immigrant rhetoric, employers can better protect their employees and uphold their responsibilities under California law.

Prevention Steps for Employers

Given the significant legal and ethical responsibilities resting on their shoulders, employers must take proactive measures to prevent national origin harassment in the workplace.

Here are four essential preventative steps:

  1. Develop a Clear Anti-Harassment Policy: A comprehensive policy that explicitly prohibits national origin harassment should be put in place. It should define harassment clearly, providing examples and outlining procedures for reporting incidents.
  2. Educate and Train Employees: Regular training sessions should be conducted to ensure all employees, including management, understand the policy and are aware of their rights and obligations.
  3. Implement an Effective Complaint Mechanism: A confidential reporting system should be established, enabling victims or witnesses to report incidents without fear of retaliation.
  4. Promptly Investigate and Resolve Complaints: Any complaints received should be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action taken swiftly.

Steps to Legal Redress

If you find yourself a victim of national origin harassment in the workplace, understanding the steps to legal redress can help protect your rights and ensure justice is served.

Initially, record all instances of harassment, including dates, times, and details. Then, report the issue to your supervisor or HR department, following your company’s anti-harassment policies.

If your employer fails to address the issue, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This must be done within one year of the last incident. The DFEH will investigate and may facilitate mediation.

If the issue remains unresolved, the DFEH or an attorney can help you file a lawsuit for damages. Remember, retaliation for filing a complaint is illegal.

Contacting Legal Assistance

After taking the necessary steps to legal redress and exhausting internal company resources, securing legal assistance becomes crucial in tackling national origin workplace harassment.

  1. Identify a Qualified Attorney: It’s essential to find an attorney who specializes in employment law and has experience dealing with workplace harassment cases.
  2. Consultation: Schedule a consultation with your chosen attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and explore possible legal strategies.
  3. Document Review: Your attorney will review all relevant documents, including any internal complaints, to evaluate the strength of your case.
  4. Representation: Once engaged, your attorney will represent you throughout the legal process, from filing a lawsuit to negotiating settlements or presenting your case in court.


In conclusion, understanding California’s laws on workplace harassment based on national origin is essential for both employees and employers. Employers must take proactive steps to prevent such harassment, while employees should be aware of their rights and legal remedies. This knowledge aids in fostering a respectful, inclusive workplace environment.

Furthermore, legal assistance can be sought to navigate complexities in cases of national origin harassment.

Share this to:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If You Encounter Any Issues, Kindly Complete Our Basic Employment Intake Form, and We Will Reach Out to You Promptly.

Before initiating a formal intake process, we would like to gather some preliminary information to assess the viability of your case. Your prompt responses will help us determine if we are well-suited to address your needs. Please note that there is no attorney-client relationship based on the submission of this form.

By submitting you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Please be advised that Jonny Law PC does not represent you until you have signed a retainer agreement.  Until that time, you are responsible for any statutes of limitations or other deadlines for your case or potential case.