Lawsuit Generic

Inside the Law: National Origin Discrimination

May 29, 2018 - 3:15 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Groundskeeper Willy, a recurring character on the Simpsons, has been known to refer to the French as cheese eating surrender monkeys. That seems less than open-minded of him. But since he’s a fictional animation, he’s probably not going to get sued for it. 

A restaurant in Vancouver does not have that defense. The French waiter that it fired for being aggressive, rude, and disrespectful, sued the eatery in the province’s Human Rights Tribunal claiming he was fired as a result of “discrimination against my culture.”  

In the U.S., would he have a case?

U.S. law protects workers from discrimination on the basis of their national origin. Provided that a worker is authorized to work in the U.S., a company can’t treat applicants or employees unfavorably because they are from a particular country or because they appear to be of a certain ethnicity. 

Firing someone for being rude, however, is not discriminatory because what U.S. law does not protect is bad behavior, either by a surly French waiter or by a smack-talking fictional Scottish groundskeeper.