discrimination and harastment

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discrimination and harastment

I start working for this company 2 months ago. I was let go from my job because I
am not a good fit for the company. The supervisor repeatedly accuse me about my
accent. She interviewed me first time by herself and the second time she was
together with the COO and they did’t have any problem with my accent.
What can I do?

Asked on May 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You cannot be discriminated against in employment due to national origin, so if your accent is due to your national origin, you may have a claim for illegal employment discrimination. You also cannot be discriminated against because of a disabiltiy, so if the accent is actually a speech impediment, you may again have an employment discrimination claim.
However, there are situations where you *can* legally be fired due to an accent. For example, if you are in a job where you you must interface with english speaking clients or customers and your accent is so thick/heavy as to impede you from communicating with them, for example, then terminating you due to it would be legal. So to summarize: discrimination based on national origin or disability, even if ostensibly based on "accent," is illegal, unless they can show that the accent demonstrably and significantly affects job performance. If you think you have been discriminated against, contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil righs agency to file a complaint. 


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