Impact of a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification | Mann & Elias
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The Impact of a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification

How to Begin a Discrimination Lawsuit Based on National Origin in LA

Facing national origin discrimination or harassment is not an uncommon occurrence in the United States. Employees often question how employers can assess their ability to do the job solely based on their country. With national origin being a frequent conversation on the news and within the workplace, it is best to understand what it is and how it could affect you. California law prohibits such harassment per the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). If you got harassed because of your ancestry or where you were born, make sure to report it. Additionally, an ethnicity discrimination lawyer for the workplace can advise you to hold your employer accountable.

National Origin Discrimination vs. Regular Workplace Discrimination

The definition of discrimination in the workplace is biased, unfavorable treatment against a protected employee, like:

Although each is distinctly different, discrimination overall is an intentional act. An employment attorney in LA would also warn that it can also be an unintentional act. Like if an employer indirectly fails to make a policy, rule, or job opportunity inclusive to everyone. National origin discrimination is slightly different. The treatment is specific to the following characteristics:

  • Where an employee was born
  • The person’s culture
  • Accent and ability to speak English

It also includes discrimination against someone of a specific ethnicity or the association among others of that group. For example, an employer may unjustly fire an employee because their spouse is from Mexico. Treating someone this way is illegal regardless of how the employer felt about a particular national origin. That includes physical appearance (clothing, special garb) and cultural traits practiced in the office.

Whether you are Arab American, South Asian, African American, or of another background, you have a legal right to report adverse treatment without fear of retaliation. This type of unfairness primarily impacts women and people of certain nationalities during the hiring process. Turn to a LA ethnicity discrimination attorney to get started with your claim.

Employers May Not Be Discriminating Based on National Origin

In 2020 alone, there were 6,377 national origin discrimination claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). At Mann & Elias, we prohibit any form of unlawful hiring or termination against protected individuals.

It is important to note that not all employers act based on national origin. Being qualified for the role does not guarantee the employer will categorize you as the best candidate. When you establish your legal case, a Los Angeles workplace lawyer will investigate carefully to ensure your company is not choosing biasedly. They will also examine if the employment decision passes as a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).

BFOQ allows employers to fill certain roles with people of a specific background in a way that is not considered discriminatory. To do so successfully, they must prove that no group member (alleging discrimination) could perform the job. That is most common in organizations of a specific religious belief, like a Catholic institution or church. Courts offer limited exceptions regarding this policy, especially when the topic of race is involved.

As an employer, we advise you to be mindful of your actions. As employees, pay close attention and keep a record of how you were treated. There are several ways you can still hold your employer accountable after you file a complaint with the EEOC. If race played a role in the decision, a labor attorney for employees in LA would address your concerns in a race discrimination claim instead.

Examples of BFOQ Exceptions

To fully understand how BFOQ exceptions work, we provide a list of examples below. In each scenario, each act would be considered discrimination.

  • Airline pilots must meet an age requirement to ensure the safety of passengers and flight crew. Employers can argue that pilots over a certain age can jeopardize safety overall and raise concerns.
  • Controversial matters regarding clothing. For instance, male clothing designers may legally advertise for male models instead of women. It would align with their brand.
  • Churches might decide to hire members of religious background and reject others who do not meet all the qualifications.
  • An airline may only hire pilots of limited religious backgrounds if the airline had to visit or fly over countries with strict religious policies. Dangerous consequences may be associated.

Reach Out to Us for Help

If you or a loved one experienced national origin workplace harassment or discrimination, it violates California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. You can call our firm to speak confidentially with an attorney and address your concerns. We will discuss whether your job requirement will get categorized as a legal bona fide in court or if it can get reported in one of several other discriminatory suits.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a significant disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success is rooted in:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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