National Origin Discrimination

Examples of National Origin Discrimination

  • Your employer or coworker treats you unfavorably because of your national origin
  • Your employer or coworker treats you unfavorably because you are married to or associate with a person of a certain national origin
  • Your employer or coworker makes offensive or derogatory remarks about your national origin, accent, or ethnicity resulting in a hostile workplace

Where you’re from shouldn’t affect where you work

Both state and federal law protect employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or national origin. This safeguards employees when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

It is also against the law to harass a person for his or her national origin. Harassment can include treatment like ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, physical violence, or other offensive conduct directed towards a person because of national origin. Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, harassment becomes illegal when the persistence or severity creates a hostile work environment. Harassment is also illegal when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as the victim being terminated.

An employer is also not permitted to base an employment decision on a person’s accent or English-language skills unless effective spoken communication is necessary to complete job duties or their accent materially affects their ability to communicate. In the case of a job where proficient language skills are required, an employer may adopt “English-Only” rules or other policies that require fluency in spoken communication. However, employees must be adequately notified of these rules, and these rules must be enforced equally.

Last, The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based upon a person’s citizenships or employment status.

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Frequently Asked Questions About National Origin Discrimination