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National Origin Discrimination

An employer cannot discriminate against a particular employee at any stage of employment because of his/her place of origin, ancestral country, or physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a certain nationality. Whether the employee’s or job applicant's ancestry is Mexican, Ukrainian, Filipino, Arabic, American Indian, or any other nationality, he or she is entitled to the same employment opportunities and rights as anyone else.

It also amounts to discrimination> to: Mistreat an applicant or employee because of someone else's national origin; treat someone less favorably at work because of marriage or other association with someone of a particular nationality; mistreat someone at work because of membership or association with a specific ethnic promotion group, or due to attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples or mosques generally associated with a national origin group, or because of a surname associated with a national origin group.

The law also prohibits offensive conduct, such as ethnic slurs based on national origin, that creates a hostile work environment. Employers are required to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. Likewise, employees are responsible for reporting harassment at an early stage to prevent its escalation.

Employee rights

  • Title VII prohibits hiring, promotion, and assignment decisions that are based on national origin.
  • Employers may not rely on co-worker, customer, or client discomfort or preference as the basis for a discriminatory action. If an employer takes an action based on the discriminatory preferences of others, the employer is also discriminating.
  • Employers may not assign applicants or employees to certain positions, or limit promotional opportunities, based on national origin.
  • Employees cannot be paid less solely because of their national origin.
  • Employees cannot be harassed or made fun of because of their affiliation with a particular religious or ethnic group.
  • It is unlawful to consider height and weight requirements, unless they bear a demonstrable relationship to job requirements.
  • Employee cannot be discriminated against for wearing a dress associated with a particular religion, ethnicity, or country of origin.
  • Employees cannot be harassed because of the perception or belief that they are members of a particular racial, national origin, or religious group, even if they are not.

At the time of hiring, the only question a prospective employer is legally allowed to ask is whether the applicant or, later, the employee is authorized to work in the United States.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits national origin discrimination. The EEOC enforces the federal prohibition against national origin discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which covers employers with 15 or more employees.

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