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What is National Origin Discrimination?


What is National Origin Discrimination?

How it differs from race discrimination

Do you know what national origin discrimination is?

If you guessed that it’s similar to race discrimination, you’re partially correct. However, there are some important differences between the two.

Let’s take a look at what the law says about this kind of discrimination.

What it is

Often, race and national origin are closely linked. That is, people may make assumptions about someone’s heritage or ancestry based on his or her color.

However, unlike race discrimination, national origin discrimination is connected to an association with a specific country or region.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency charged with enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, defines national origin discrimination as when an individual is treated unlawfully because of:

  • his or her association with a certain place
  • his or her ancestors’ association with a certain place
  • shared physical, cultural, or language characteristics of a specific ethnic group

In a broader sense, employers are also barred from implementing any employment practices that unfairly impact people on the basis of national origin or perceived national origin.

What a national origin discrimination claim make look like

National origin discrimination claims often allow a more subtle interpretation of the law than race discrimination claims.

One obvious example of this would be that a person can more easily make a claim of national origin discrimination against a person of the same race.

For example, a person of Caribbean background may claim that an African American manager refuses to hire anyone from Jamaica.

Or, a person of Polish descent may claim that her manager will not promote her because of a prejudice against Polish people.

Often, complaints of national origin discrimination are paired with other discrimination complaints, such as race, color, or religion, or even harassment.

Harassment may include ethnic slurs, ridicule, intimidation, threats of violence or actual violence, or any other offensive conduct that is severe and pervasive.

Call us now

If you believe that you haven’t been treated in accordance with the law because of your national origin, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.

Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.

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