The EEOC recognizes linguistic discrimination as national origin discrimination and prohibits “the denial of equal employment opportunity . . . because an individual has the . . . linguistic characteristics of a national group.” 29 C.F.R. § 1606. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has also recognized that discrimination based on manner of accent can be national origin discrimination. The Sixth Circuit said “[w]e understand that ‘accent and national origin’ are overlapping concepts, and in some circumstances can be ‘inextricably intertwined.’ In one case, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a judgment for the plaintiff by observing that the evidence supported the district court’s finding that “plaintiff was denied two positions within the Department because of her accent which flowed from her national origin.” The Sixth Circuit, however, stated unlawful national origin discrimination does not occur when a plaintiff’s accent affects his ability to perform the job effectively.
To determine if you have a claim for national origin discrimination, call Dale Bernard at 440-546-7500.