Federal law prohibits an employer from treating an employee less favorably than other employees because the employee comes from a particular country, is of a certain ethnicity, or has a particular accent. So-called national origin discrimination is forbidden by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employers from making employment decisions, including recruiting, hiring, and firing, based on national origin. Title VII also prohibits offensive conduct (such as ethnic slurs based on national origin) that creates a hostile work environment.
National origin discrimination moved to the forefront of employment litigation in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since then, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has documented a significant increase in the number of charges alleging discrimination based on religion and/or national origin. For example, an employer may be accused of refusing to hire an otherwise qualified person for fear that the person’s religious turban would make customers “uncomfortable” or of requiring job applicants who hail from particular countries to undergo background investigation checks that other applicants are not subjected to.
Employers should educate their employees about Title VII to ensure compliance with the law and should develop policies that reflect the federal standards.
To speak with an employment law attorney about discrimination in the workplace, contact the employment law attorneys at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected]