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Ancestry Discrimination

What is Ancestry Discrimination?

Ancestry DiscriminationAncestry discrimination occurs when you have been treated differently at work based on the country or region where your ancestors are from, whether or not you ever personally lived there. 

For example, it includes discrimination based on the place where your parents or grandparents were born, or based on where your ancestors lived many generations ago.  In any of those instances, your employer should not use your ancestry, or someone else’s ancestry, as the basis to make employment decisions that impact you. 

New Jersey Ancestry Discrimination Attorneys

At Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, our ancestry discrimination lawyers represent employees who have experienced most forms of workplace discrimination, including discrimination due to ancestry.

Both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) prohibit discrimination based on ancestry.  As a result, for employees in New Jersey and New York City, discrimination in the workplace based on your ancestry is likely to violate your legal rights.

Some of the ways in which ancestry discrimination can violate the law include:

Wrongful Termination

The LAD and NYCHLR both make it a violation of your legal rights for your employer to use your ancestry as a basis to fire you.  Doing so would be a form of wrongful termination.

Hostile Work Environment (Harassment)

Similarly, the law prohibits employers from creating a hostile work environment based on your ancestry, since doing so is a form of discrimination.  This often is referred to as harassment. 

Harassment can involve offensive remarks, jokes and other mistreatment based on a prohibited reason, such as your ancestry, that taken together create a hostile or intimidating work environment.

Other Adverse Employment Actions

Further, it is unlawful for your employer to make other decisions, such as ones about hiring, promoting, setting compensation or taking another adverse employment action against you because of your ancestry.


In addition, the LAD and the NYCHRL both protect employees from retaliation because they reported or opposed ancestry discrimination in the workplace.  In other words, your employer would violate the law if it took an adverse employment action against you or harassed you in retaliation for complaining about ancestry discrimination at your job.

Related Claim: National Origin Discrimination

Ancestry discrimination claims often are associated with other forms of discrimination, such as national origin discrimination.  For example, if you and your ancestors were born in another country, then discriminating against you because of your heritage is likely to be both national origin and ancestry discrimination.

Other Related Claims: Color and Religious Discrimination

Likewise, in many instances your ancestry is closely associated with another legally-protected characteristic, such as your race, color or religion.  As a result, it is common for employers that discriminate against you because of your ancestry to also discriminate based on one or more of those other associated traits.

The New Jersey ancestry discrimination attorneys at our employment law firm handle claims of discrimination and harassment based on national origin, race, color and religion.

Contact Us

If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination based on your ancestry or due to another legally-protected category, then please feel free to contact us online or to call us at (201) 777-2250 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our New Jersey ancestry discrimination lawyer. 

Our main office is located at 135 Chestnut Ridge Road, Suite 230, in Montvale, New Jersey.  For your convenience, we offer consultations in person, via Zoom video conference, and over the telephone.  We are dedicated to enforcing the rights of employees in New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog

Want to learn more about your employment law rights?  If so, then we welcome you to visit our New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, which provides news and information about your workplace rights.  For example, you may be interested in the following pertinent article:  Decision Based on Family Relationship is Not Ancestry Discrimination.

Client Reviews
"I worked with Jonathan Nirenberg, ESQ on a sensitive emotional employment matter. Mr. Nirenberg was quick to respond, offered excellent advice, and always followed up with phone calls or emails when needed. My situation was settled out of court within a short period of time with the best possible results for not just me but also for the employer. Highly recommend and would seek his help again if needed..." Linda Busch, PhD
"We've had the pleasure of working with Jonathan on multiple individual and class employment cases. Jonathan is a skilled, dedicated and caring attorney that works diligently to bring justice for his clients. We would recommend Jonathan as a legal resource for any employment cases." Stephan Zouras, LLP
"I felt alone and without a voice, until I hired Jonathan I. Nirenberg of Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. Mr. Nirenberg represented me in an employment matter. Without his help, I know that I would not have had the extremely successful outcome I had. Jonathan was not only professional, but very empathetic to what happened to me. Jonathan gave me support, and options in relation to a challenging employer/employment situation which was an extremely difficult time in my life..." Shelly Smith