Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you are protected against discriminatory acts made based on your national origin, among other things. There may be some confusion as to how national origin discrimination differs from race discrimination, but there is a distinction between the two. Understanding the specifics under Title VII, such as the different protected classes, can be confusing, but an integral part of knowing your rights.
What is National Origin Discrimination?
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, classifies national origin discrimination as unlawful treatment of an individual based on his or her association with a certain place or his or her ancestors’ association with a certain place. A person may also experience national origin discrimination if they are unlawfully treated because they appear to be a part of a certain ethnicity or of a certain ethnic background, even if this is not an accurate assessment.
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish national origin discrimination and race discrimination because they are often closely related. People will often make assumptions about a person’s national origin based on the color of his or her skin. The difference between the two forms of discrimination is that national origin discrimination is discrimination specifically based on a person’s association, or assuming a person’s association, with a particular region of the world. The distinction between the two can be more clearly seen when a person of a certain race discriminates against another person of the same race based on where they come from. Despite the distinction, national origin discrimination complaints are often made in tandem with race discrimination.
Discrimination based on national origin is prohibited in private sector companies that have fifteen or more employees, federal government organizations, employment agencies, and labor organizations, under Title VII. Discriminatory acts may include unfavorable actions involving:
- Job assignments
- Other terms or conditions of employment
Harassment based on national origin of an individual is also prohibited under federal law. Harassment can create a hostile work environment and involve continuous and severely offensive conduct including repeated:
- Ethnic slurs
- Ridicule and derogatory remarks
- Threats of violence
- Actual violence
Protecting Employees from Workplace Discrimination or Harassment Based on National Origin.
Unfortunately, some people have wide-sweeping, intensely negative feelings associated with specific regions of the world. They can take out this negativity on anyone they think may actually be of or associated with such a national origin. Some even bring this into the workplace, creating a hostile and very unpleasant work environment. You do not have to assume this will always be a part of your life. You have rights under federal law barring this type of behavior in the workplace. Contact Tand & Associates to find out your options and how to proceed should you want to pursue a complaint against your employer.