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Employment discrimination and national origin

There are many different types of discriminatory practices that may occur within the employment realm. Whether subtle or overt in nature, workplace discrimination is illegal and employees who believe they have been unfairly treated or targeted due to their race, gender, age, sexual orientation or national origin should feel empowered to speak up and seek the advice of an attorney.

America is a country that was founded by immigrants, many of whom routinely encountered discrimination in the workplace. Thankfully, today there are laws that explicitly restrict employers, supervisors and co-workers from making or carrying out harassing and discriminating comments and actions in the workplace.

Employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the terms of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and may not discriminate "against any employee or applicant because of the individual's national origin."Acts of national discrimination may relate to an individual's accent, ethnicity or place of birth. Examples of these types of discriminatory acts may range from derogatory comments to discriminatory company policies. For example, an employer who attempts to enact an English-only policy can only do so if it is a policy that truly ensures for "the safe or efficient operation of the employer's business."

In addition to discrimination that a non-U.S. born citizen may face on the job, some employers are also guilty of engaging in discriminatory acts with regard to employment screening and hiring practices. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against a prospective or current employee based upon his or her immigration or U.S. citizenship status. For example, it's illegal to only hire U.S. citizens.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "National Origin Discrimination," April 7, 2015

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About National Origin Discrimination," April 7, 2015

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