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Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies


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National Origin Discrimination

     See also: Race and National Origin Discrimination

      The plaintiff presented no real evidence that a fire department requested, required, or purchased his genetic information, or discriminated against him on the basis of genetic information in violation of the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), 42 U.S.C. 2000ff-1. The trial court did not erroneously conclude that the employer's actions in placing him in administrative duty assignments were motivated by his refusal to take a stress test, and not in unlawful retaliation for his opposition to practices prohibited by GINA. The motivation was ensuring compliance with the department's Wellness Program and furthering its goals, and was also not motivated by national origin discrimination. Summary judgment in favor of the employer was upheld. Ortiz v. City of San Antonio Fire Dept. #15-50341 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 20014 (4th Cir.).
     When a woman from Saudi Arabia started to work at a county court, her clothing marked her as a Muslim. When she was assigned to child care duties, she was the only employee in that position who was an Arab or a Muslim. Her superior was an allegedly vocal Christian, and the employee filed internal complaints about his behavior, contending that he established a hostile working environment for her. Her superior said he was tired of her complaints and she was transferred to the court reporter's office, an assignment in which she wass allegedly treated badly and subjected to retaliation because she had filed EEOC complaints. She sued under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, asserting that her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated. A federal appeals court found that the plaintiff adequately stated a claim for a hostile work environment and that her superiors were not entitled to qualified immunity for their alleged actions of retaliation. The employee had engaged in protected conduct in complaining about alleged religious and national origin harassment. Her complaints about abusive conduct including screaming, prayer circles at work, social shaming, implied criticism of non-Christians expressed at work, and "uniquely bad treatment" of her were plausible. Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge, Cook County, #12-2217, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 18296 (7th Cir.).
    A female former employee of French national origin at a maximum security prison failed to show that the employer was liable for alleged sexual harassment or discrimination against her on the basis of gender and national origin. The employer apparently corrected all the behavior by co-workers that the plaintiff reported, and she failed to show that any similarly situated non-French non-female employees were subject to different treatment than the treatment she complained of. Claims of retaliation were also rejected. Chaib v. Indiana, #13-1680, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 3417 (7th Cir.).
     A part-time police officer, who was born in Jordan, sued the city that employs him, claiming that he suffered national origin discrimination when he was passed over for promotion to full-time positions that became available. While he claimed that a police captain made derogatory statements about him, he failed to show that the captain was a decision-maker with input into the promotion decision. The police chief indicated that he made hiring decisions himself, and there was no evidence of discriminatory animus on the part of the chief. There was also evidence that other candidates were hired for the full time positions because they were better qualified, had more experience, there had been a citizen complaint against the plaintiff, and there was a concern that the plaintiff might be unable to work rotating shifts because of his ownership of gas stations. There was no indication that these stated reasons were a pretext for discrimination. Othman v. City of Country Club Hills, #11-1142, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 4175 (8th Cir.).
     A police recruit dropped from the academy after failing a firearms test insisted it was because he was Polish. He father, who was a deputy sheriff, attempted to intervene on his behalf by contacting his son's supervisor. After a plea for reconsideration was rejected, an unidentified man made phone calls to the school the supervisor's children attended making "disturbing" statements and those calls apparently were made from the building where the father worked. A disciplinary action is filed against the father, and he opted for early retirement before his hearing is held. He and his son both asserted federal civil rights claims, but those claims are rejected. They then both sought to file employment discrimination lawsuits under Title VII, claiming that their terminations were based on their Polish national origins. Their Title VII lawsuit was barred by the earlier adverse decisions against them in their federal civil rights lawsuits, which were also based on their terminations. Palka v. City of Chicago, #09-2042,  2011 U.S. App. Lexis 21461; 94 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P44,303 (7th Cir.).
     Jury finds for the FBI in a discrimination and retaliation suit brought by an Egyptian born former agent. Judge refuses the plaintiff's request for a new trial because "the jury's verdict was not against the weight of the evidence." Youssef v. Fed. Bur. of Investigation, #03-1551, 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9832 (D.D.C. 2011); prior ruling at 541 F. Supp. 2d 121 (D.D.C. 2008).
     In a national origin failure to promote case, the Second Circuit declares that "Experience, however, is not a substitute for performance, and defendants had every right to place greater emphasis on the performance evaluations of the candidates for promotion." Performance ratings trump seniority. Estate of Paulette Hamilton v. City of N.Y., #9-4318, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 24666 (2nd Cir.).
     Fifth Circuit rejects a national origin discrimination suit filed by a furloughed city employee. The plaintiff failed to adduce any evidence that he applied for positions for which he was qualified and for which he was not hired. Okpala v. City of Houston, #10-20175, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20446 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
     Ninth Circuit allows an EEOC action for injunctive relief to proceed against a government contractor, but dismisses the damages claims. The Navajo Nation had insisted that contractual firms operating on tribal lands give employment preference to Navajos. EEOC v. Peabody Western, #06-17261, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 12899 (9th Cir.).
    Federal court rejects the claims brought by a Puerto Rican who claimed that her promotion to captain was delayed for discriminatory reasons. Many other candidates were ahead of her, due to their higher scores on the civil service exam and she failed to identify any specific training opportunities that she was denied. Santiago v. City of N.Y., #05-CV-3668, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 30371 (E.D.N.Y.).
     Federal court rejects a national origin discrimination suit brought by a Treasury Dept. worker who was subjected to an intensive security investigation. Management believed the employee was traveling to Afghanistan because his mother was ill and later discovered that the employee's mother was already deceased. Asghar v. Paulson, #06-0400, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 73279 (D.D.C.).
     In a national origin discrimination action, the Seventh Circuit concludes that the recording of 24 unauthorized absences in a personnel record, along with an admonition that disciplinary action would ensue if unexcused absences continue, is not an adverse employment action. "We discern no reason to treat the UAs in this case differently than we have treated negative performance evaluations ..." Delarma v. Illinois Dept. Human Services, #07-1156, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18756 (7th Cir.).
     "When viewed in the context of 15 years of employment, two allegedly offensive statements made by the supervisor did not constitute extreme harassment that changed the terms and conditions of the employee's employment." Fuentes v. Bor. of Watchung, N.J., #07-2812, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 15882 (3rd Cir.).
     Hispanic probation officer who was terminated for alleged misconduct failed to establish that he was similarly situated to non-Hispanic employees that were treated more favorably. Salas v. Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections, #06-2483, 493 F.3d 913, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16986, 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 11 (7th Cir).
     Seventh Circuit sustains the termination of a corrections officer for bringing contraband into a prison. There was no evidence that the failure to offer him a Last Chance Agreement was influenced by national origin discrimination. "An independent investigator and independent arbitrator separately reached the conclusion that [he] had engaged in the prohibited conduct of trading and trafficking" and there was no evidence they "bore any discriminatory animus..." Jennings v. Ill. Dept. of Corrections, #06-1637, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18325, 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 249 (7th Cir.).
     In a private sector case, a federal court rejects a claim that the appellant was overly monitored, micromanaged and then fired due to his race, color, and Jamaican origin. The employer advanced adequate reasons for his dismissal. Holt v. Roadway Sys., #2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 61037 (W.D.N.Y.).
     Seventh Circuit rejects a national origin discrimination suit filed by an Hispanic corrections officer who was fired for smuggling contraband cigars into a prison. Although there was evidence that non-Hispanic employees were treated less harshly, there was no causal connection between discriminatory conduct by his superior and his termination. Jennings v. Illinois Dept. of Corrections, #06-1637, 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 249, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18325 (7th Cir.).
     Los Angeles jury awards $10.4 million to four South Gate police officers who alleged that they were harassed by coworkers because of their support for Latino city officials. The jury voted 10-2 to award approximately $1.4 million in economic damages and $9 million in non-economic damages; individual verdicts ranged from $1.5 to over $4 million Hernandez v. City of South Gate, #BC312104 (L.A. Super .2007); verdict rptd. at 45 (2208) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 636.
     A foreign-born security guard cannot claim wage discrimination because other employees with less experience were paid more, where the rate of pay was governed by prevailing wage rates at each work site under the union contract. Bhaduri v. Summit Security Services, #05 Civ 7024, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2985, 99 FEP Cases (BNA) 1343 (S.D.N.Y. 2007).
     Tenth Circuit finds that a male Hispanic city employee failed to prove that the promotion of a white female was gender or national origin discrimination, due to her superior qualifications. Vigil v. City of Albuquerque, #05-2301, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 29458 (Unpub 10th Cir. 2006). {N/R}
     Summary judgment for the employer is granted in a national origin discrimination lawsuit. A supervisor and the plaintiff, an Italian-American, were not similarly situated. Covello v. City of Chicago, #04C2212, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 68985 (N.D. Ill.). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court rejects a national origin lawsuit brought by a former police officer of Polish descent. Although two superiors made derogatory remarks these acts were unrelated to the decision to fire him. The decision to terminate the officer was based on performance records and citizen complaints. Rozskowiak v. Vil. of Arlington Heights, #04-2043, 415 F.3d 608; 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 13567; 96 FEP Cases (BNA) 90 (7th Cir. 2005). {N/R}
     Appeals court affirms the termination of a security officer that refused to remove a confederate flag from his truck and lunchbox. He was not fired because he was a "Southerner" -- he was terminated for insubordination. Storey v. Burns Intl. Security Serv., #03-2246, 390 F.3d 760, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25262 (3rd Cir. 2004). [2005 FP Mar]
     Eighth Circuit rejects the appeal of a firefighter who claimed that he was suspended, denied retraining, and unfairly disciplined because of his Hispanic background. Although the plaintiff presented coworker testimony that the fire chief made insensitive remarks about African American and women employees, he presented no evidence that or others ever uttered a single negative remark about the plaintiff's Hispanic background. Griffith v. City of Des Moines, #03-3266, 387 F.3d 733, 94 FEP Cases (BNA) 993, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 21438 (8t {N/R}
     Police officer who was fired for engaging in a scheme to obtain illegal access to satellite television, failed to prove discriminatory action. Although other officers were involved in the scheme, his conduct was the most severe and his allegations of disparate discipline did not establish a pretextual termination because he is Hispanic. Salguero v. City of Clovis, #03-2120 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8931 (10th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court rejects a Hispanic police officer's parallel discrimination and retaliation suit as res adjudicata; he lost a state court challenge to a decision to grant him only non duty-related disability benefits after a heart attack. The officer had testified against management in a prior employment discrimination case. Garcia v. Village of Mount Prospect, #02-2869, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 3226, 93 FEP Cases (BNA) 446 (7th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     NYPD settles a bias action and establishes a $20 million compensation fund to satisfy the discrimination claims of Latino and African American officers. The suit alleged that the NYPD was hostile to Hispanic and black officers by allowing graffiti and slurs, that began in the academy and continued into precinct houses. Latino Officers Assn. v. City of New York, #99-9568; prior decis. at 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 17778 and 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11794 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). {N/R}
     Court dismisses a discrimination complaint filed by a Russian immigrant who was fired from his job as a criminal investigator. His supervisor may be unpleasant, unfair, and arbitrary, but that does not prove discrimination. Neishlos v. New York City, #00Civ.914, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19554 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 FP Mar]
     Appeals court rejects claims of retaliation, national origin and age discrimination. Postal service properly "concluded that reinstating an employee who had been terminated because of an arrest for selling drugs inside a post office facility was not in the best interest of USPS even though the criminal charges were subsequently dismissed following a mistrial." Sarullo v. U.S. Postal Service, #01-4203, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 25847 (3rd Cir. 2003). [2003 FP Mar]
     Jury awards $3,591,000 to an Asian-American LAPD officer who allegedly suffered harassment and retaliation from his supervisors. The incidents, over a seven-year period, ranged from a failure to respond to his backup calls to putting women's underwear in his work mailbox. Nagatoshi v. City of Los Angeles, Superior Ct. #BC260299, 41 (2004) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 383 (jury verdict 2003). {N/R}
     An allegedly discriminatory policy of classifying Hispanic employees as temporary employees for longer periods of time than white employees, which deprived them of longevity pay and retirement compensatio,n was not a continuing violation for the purpose of avoiding the statutes of limitations. City of Hialeah v. Rojas, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 23252 (11th Cir. 2002). {N/R}
    Federal court dismisses a Hispanic probation officer's Title VII discrimination claim; a lateral transfer is not an "adverse action" and other conduct was not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment. Vasquez v. Co. of Los Ang., #00-56803, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 20664, 89 FEP Cases (BNA) 1705 (9th Cir. 2002). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court upholds the termination of a Polish officer who was unable to prove others have been treated differently based on similar misconduct. Glebocki v. City of Chicago, #01-1243, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 4816, 32 Fed. Appx. 149 (7th Cir. 2002). [2002 FP Sep]
     U.S. Dept. of Justice issues Guidance to avoid national origin discrimination, and warns that "English Only" laws offer no protection from liability. Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI: Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, 66 (10) Federal Register 3833-3848 (Jan. 2001).   [2002 FP Apr]
     The U.S. Dept. of Justice brochure, "Federal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination," is now available in 11 foreign languages: Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Laotian, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog (Philippines) and Vietnamese. [N/R]
     California appeals court rejects a discrimination claim where the employee unsuccessfully appealed his termination at an administrative hearing. Castillo v. City of Los Angeles, #B143598, 2001 Cal. App. Lexis 747, 111 Cal.Rptr.2d 870, 01 C.D.O.S. 8342, 2001 DAR 10237. [2001 FP 154]
     Seventh Circuit upholds the promotion of an Asian agent which was challenged by an Hispanic agent. The selected agent had more field experience. Guerrero v. Ashcroft, #00-3306, 253 F.3d 309, 86 FEP Cases (BNA) 1129, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 12871 (7th Cir.). [2001 FP 121]
     President Clinton signs an Executive Order to improve the recruitment of Hispanics into the federal work force and to offer improved career development opportunities for Hispanics. Executive Order #13171 (10/1/2000). Text: www.opm.gov/eo/13171.htm {N/R}
     President Clinton issues Executive Order 13166 entitled, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” to assist them in accessing federal services. Attorney General's Civil Rights Division issues a Policy Guidance document, “National origin discrimination against persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP Guidance).” 65 (159) Fed. Reg. 50121-50125 (Aug. 16, 2000). [2000 FP 156]
     $1.2 million verdict awarded to a Hispanic former officer, for discriminatory treatment and discharge, is settled for $400,000. Two other similar suits against the same city are settled for $100,000 each plus $300,000 in legal fees. Martinez v. Mt. Prospect, 92 F.Supp.2d 780, 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7456 (N.D. Ill.); settlement at 38 (1855) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 395. [2000 FP 42-3 & 73-4]
     Jury awards a Syrian born city worker $1,000,000 for national origin discrimination. The Muslim plaintiff was repeatedly insulted, barred from promotion and was forced into early retirement by health problems induced by discriminatory treatment. Rez v. City of Los Angeles, (Rptd. by the L.A. Times 7/1/2000). {N/R}
     Hispanic police officer wins $1.9 million against the City of South San Francisco, Calif. Molieri v. City of So. San Fran., 37 (1826) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1051, San Mateo Co. Super. Ct. #399497 (7/28/1999). [1999 FP 134-5]
     California was exercising its police powers, not its proprietary powers, when it required school teachers to be certificated; licensing examination was not subject to Title VII and the examination was mandated by legislature, not an agency responsible for overseeing employees. Assn. Mex. Am. Educators v. Calif., 183 F.3d 1055, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 15546, 80 FEP Cases (BNA) 500 (9th Cir. 1999). {N/R}
     Minnesota appellate court upholds a suit by an unsuccessful Hispanic firefighter who claimed the promotional exam was biased. Damages reduced from $705,000 to $405,000. Kohn v. Mnpls. Fire Dept., #C5-97-2075, 1998 Minn. App. Lexis 957. {N/R}
     Latino agents file complaint against the INS. claiming they are underrepresented in senior management and supervisory positions. Quintanar v. Reno, #96-7066 JGD, 36 G.E.R.R. (BNA) No.1749 (C.D.Cal.). [1998 FP 76]
     Chicano sergeant who was kept as an Acting Lieutenant until the promotional list expired, accepts promotion and $130,000 to drop ethnic discrimination suit. Doe v. City (Parties Confid.), 109 (77) L.A.D.J. V&S 10, Riverside Co. (Cal.Super. 1996). [1996 FP 122-3]
     American Indian recovers $23,000 because sheriff refused to promote him because of his native American origin. Wilkinson v. Hill Co. Sheriff's Office, #9001004083, 1995 FEP Summary (BNA) 29 (Mont.HRC 1994). [1995 FP 89-90]
     Prison employee receives $450,000 plus legal fees, in her suit for a denied promotion. She alleged her rejection was in retaliation for a 1983 bias complaint filed with the EEOC. Clark v. State of California, #S-89-1688 DFL-GGH, 31 (1506) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 361 (E.D.Cal. 3-2-93). [1993 FP 89]
     See also: Race and National Origin Discrimination and EEOC regulations at www.eeoc.gov/regs/

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