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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7206
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My employer is having me do more work then my coworkers because

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My employer is having me do more work then my coworkers because "I am Spanish".I get paid the same scale rate as those who do not do the extra work. Where under discrimination does this fall? Should I get a lawyer to represent me? I work for a State employer with about 300 employees.
Submitted: 1 year ago via EmployeeIssues.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear that you are being asked to perform additional work without additional pay, and I can certainly understand why you'd find that frustrating.

Can you provide a little more detail with regard to how exactly your employer is justifying your increase in work?

Specifically, are they asking you to work more because you have spanish language skills? Or does this purely have to do with your nationality/ethnicity? Do you have any proof (witnesess, something in writing, etc.) that your employer is forcing this additional work upon you due to your nationality/ethnicity?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you. I currently work for a mental state hospital. At the time of my hiring (3 years ago) The hospital was in need of Spanish speaking psych aides. I was one of many hired. On march 8 I was reassigned to another building of the hospital to translate for consumers to doctors, nurses and other employees as well as run a Spanish group twice a week.
The hospital has Activities Aide to run groups at a hire pay rate. Also they have two translators who are hired through an out side agency to serve as Spanish speaking translators for the consumers. As far as proof. I believe that copies I have obtained listing me as "leader" of Spanish groups shows that I am intact doing the work as an activities aide worker. Their are plenty of witnesses who have seen me run groups.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Nina,

Thank you very much for your reply and the additional information.

Unfortunately, I must tell you that the facts you describe would not ordinarily give rise to a claim for discrimination on the basis of nationality or ethnicity. This is because the adverse treatment you are experiencing (being made to take on more work for the same pay) is not the result of your nationality, it is the result of your ability to speak the Spanish language. This is a job skill just like having a degree in computer science, or a certification in CPR--it furthers a legitimate business purpose and employers can decide where to assign you and how much work to give you on the basis of you possessing the skill.

The fact you were chosen to run the Spanish group also cannot be construed as adverse employment action on the basis of nationality--it is precisely due to your nationality that you were determined a good fit to run the group. Again, this is an attribute that furthers a legitimate business purpose and, therefore, can form the basis for assigning you work.

Although the facts you describe would not give rise to a claim for discrimination for the reasons stated above, it does seem as though your employer may be violating your collective bargaining agreement by requiring you to perform work that is outside of your job description and falls within a higher pay scale. THIS would be actionable by filing a grievance through your union rep, who should be fighting for your interests.

To summarize, the employment action you describe regretfully would not give rise to a claim for discrimination, though I certainly understand why you find it to be frustrating. The fact is you are being asked to take on this additional work due to skills and attributes you possess which further a legitimate business purpose. Although no claim for discrimination would exist, it does appear that an individual in your circumstance may have a claim for breach of your collective bargaining agreement and an increase in pay because you are performing work that falls within a different pay scale. This would be an issue you want to address by filing a grievance through your union rep.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver what you may regard as partially bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Even tho other spanish speaking employees can refuse to translate or run groups, it's not considered discriminatory? Isn't this disparity of treatment?
The fact that I do not want to do this and being made because I'm Spanish?
As I mentioned before, I have taken it up with my union rep. They were the ones who advised me to file with the EEOC.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Nina,

Thank you very much for your reply. Although I wish I could tell you otherwise, this is not an EEOC issue. Perhaps there is a disparity in treatment in that you, rather than the other Spanish speaking employees are being forced to translate, but this disparity is not due to your nationality/ethnicity. That wouldn't make any sense because these other employees, who are being allowed to pass on translating assignments, are also Spanish speaking and so presumably of the same nationality/ethnicity.

Claims for "discrimination" require more than simply showing a disparity in treatment--they require a disparity that is occurring because of a protected characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, or nationality. What is happening in your case is unfair, but that does not make it actionable discrimination, as the employees who are receiving more favorable treatment (being allowed to pass on the translation assignments) are of the same nationality as you and so you cannot allege that nationality is the basis for your unfair treatment. I hope that makes sense.

Again, this does not mean that you have NO claim, simply that there is no claim for discrimination within the meaning of the law and therefore no need to involve the EEOC. What you describe appears to be actionable as a breach of your collective bargaining agreement, which can be pursued through your union rep as noted above.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7206
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and 15 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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