What is national origin discrimination?

For job applicants and hired workers, freedom from discrimination is a fundamental right.

For job applicants and hired workers, freedom from discrimination is a fundamental right. This includes discrimination based on gender, age, race and national origin. 

"National origin and race are two distinct forms of discrimination."

National origin, as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, specifically refers to aspects of a person's birthplace, ancestry, culture and linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group or accent. A person can a born and raised American citizen, naturalized citizen or have a work visa and still be discriminated against for national origin. 

National origin and race are two distinct forms of discrimination, though they often have overlap – particularly when certain ethnic groups have commonly associated or stereotypical characteristics. For instance, a person of Asian descent may find themselves experiencing harassment or hostility that is attributable to discomfort with certain physical or cultural characteristics. While this is ostensibly an issue with race, the cultural element may point to the issue being national origin.

Regardless of root cause, 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. Examples of national origin discrimination can manifest as:

  • Requiring English fluency for jobs that can be performed effectively without it.
  • Forcing workers to read, sign documents or be issued safety instructions in a language other than their native one.
  • Refusing to hire or promote an employee based on their accent. 

Recent cases involving national origin discrimination have allowed plaintiffs to recover significant damages. The Lawler Foods bakery in Houston, Texas, was recently made to pay over $1 million to plaintiffs in a national origin dispute.

If you have been the victim of national origin discrimination, contact The Meyers Law Firm today. 

The Meyers Law Firm did not provide representation in the aforementioned case.