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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Employee Claims Subsidiary Of Japanese Company Unlawfully Fired Him Based On His American National Origin

Wrong staffing. Discrimination in a business team.

Having practiced employment discrimination law for more than two decades, our Alachua County, Florida employee rights attorneys know that a common employment discrimination law myth is that individuals who were born in the United States do not fall within the protection against national origin discrimination under the federal anti-discrimination laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) protects employees from discrimination on the basis of national origin. Under Title VII, all individuals born in the United States are protected from discrimination based on their American national origin. This means that employers cannot treat employees of American national origin differently or less favorably from employees who are not of American national origin. In this article, our Gainesville, Florida employee rights attorneys explain how the decision by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Brown v. Daikin America, Inc., 756 F.3d 219 (2d Cir. 2014) demonstrates that employers are prohibited from impermissibly discriminating against employees of American national origin.

Employee Claims Discriminatory Discharge

In that case, Todd Brown (Brown) brought an employment discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, Daikin America, Inc. (Daikin), pursuant to Title VII. Brown claims that Daikin violated Title VII by terminating his employment because of his American national origin. Daikin, which manufactures and sells chemical products, is a Delaware corporation headquartered in New York. Daikin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries, Ltd. (DIL), a Japanese corporation based in Japan.
Brown worked in Daikin’s New Business Development Group (the Group) from 2001 until 2009, when he was discharged as part of a company-wide reduction in force. During his employment with Daikin, Brown’s performance reviews were consistently positive. In February 2009, when Brown’s employment with Daikin ended, the Group consisted of six employees, three of whom were of American national origin and three of whom were of Japanese national origin. Each of the Japanese employees in the Group previously worked for DIL in Japan but was assigned to Daikin “to act as Daikin’s employee” while in the United States. Such inter-company “rotational assignments” lasted a period of years.
As a result of the 2009 workforce reduction, the employment of Brown and one other employee of American national origin in the Group was terminated. The remaining employee of American national origin was transferred out of the group, leaving three employees of Japanese national origin employed in the Group. During the same reduction in force, Daikin also terminated employees in three other business groups. In total, seven employees of American national origin lost their jobs in the reduction in force, but no Japanese employees were terminated. Brown claims that, for discriminatory reasons, Daikin did not consider terminating any of the rotational employees of Japanese national origin or any employees of Japanese national origin who had been hired directly by Daikin. Instead, according to Brown, Daikin selected him for termination as part of the reduction in force because of his American national origin without considering similar action against employees of Japanese national origin.

Other Employees Given Preferential Treatment

Daikin filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Brown’s national origin discrimination claim. The trial court granted Daikin’s motion for dismissal. On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed the trial court’s decision and reinstated Brown’s national origin discrimination claim. In finding that Brown had alleged sufficient facts to establish that he was terminated because of his American national origin, the appellate court focused on Brown’s allegations that Daikin gave preferential treatment to employees of Japanese national origin. The court of appeals observed that Brown alleged that Daikin did not consider any employees of Japanese national origin for downsizing and did not terminate any of employees of Japanese national origin as a result of the workforce reduction. Based on these allegations, the Second Circuit concluded, Brown had established a prima facie case of discriminatory discharge under Title VII and the trial court had improperly dismissed his national origin discrimination case.

Consult With Gainesville Employee Rights Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Alachua County, Florida employee rights attorneys have been fighting for employment discrimination victims for more than twenty years. If you have been discriminated against based on your American national origin or have questions about your protection against national origin discrimination under the federal anti-discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Gainesville, Florida employee rights lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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