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EEOC guidelines on national origin discrimination

There are countless people living in New York City who are allowed to work in the United States even though they were not born in the country. Whether a person is a naturalized U.S. citizen or a foreign national with a work authorization, the individual is protected from national origin discrimination in employment. Unlawful national origin discrimination may occur even if an employer wrongly assumes that an employee or job applicant is from another country.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new guidelines addressing the employment actions that it considers to be national origin discrimination. The EEOC's Enforcement Guidance is not a new law, but a clarification of the agency's understanding of national origin discrimination that is outlawed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. National origin discrimination claims make up about 11 percent of the employment discrimination claims that are filed each year by private sector employees with the EEOC.

According to the EEOC, national origin discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates against an employee because of the employee's real or perceived country of origin. An employer that submits to customer requests for workers that are not 'foreign" may be guilty of national origin discrimination. Even if an employer hires foreign-born workers, the employer could be accused of national origin discrimination if it sets unnecessary rules prohibiting foreign languages from being spoken in the workplace.

Some employers may believe that they can get away with discrimination in the hiring process because this kind of employment discrimination can be difficult to prove. However, the EEOC files many successful claims on behalf of people who were unlawfully discriminated against during an interview. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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