HR Alert

EEOC Updates Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination to replace its 2002 compliance manual section on that subject.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), generally applicable to employers with 15 or more employees, prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

National origin discrimination means discrimination because an individual (or his or her ancestors) is from a certain place or shares the physical, cultural, or language characteristics of a national origin (ethnic) group. Employers should note that:

  • An individual's place of origin may be a country (such as Mexico), a former country (such as Yugoslavia), or a place that is closely associated with an ethnic group but is not a country (such as Kurdistan).
  • A national origin group is a group of people who share a common language, culture, ancestry, and/or other social characteristics (such as Hispanics/Latinos or Arabs).
  • National origin does not refer to citizenship or immigration status.

National Origin Enforcement Guidance
The EEOC's enforcement guidance sets forth the agency's interpretation of the law, and explains how federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations apply to specific workplace situations.

The enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination discusses Title VII's prohibition on national origin discrimination as applied to a wide variety of employment situations and highlights best practices for employers to prevent discrimination. The guidance also addresses developments in the courts since 2002, as well as topics such as job segregation, human trafficking, and intersectional discrimination.

Click here to read the text of the guidance. The EEOC has also issued a question-and-answer publication on the guidance and a small business fact sheet that highlights the major points in the guidance.

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