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What is national origin discrimination?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines national origin discrimination as the act of an employer, or future employer, to judge you by the country in which you were born or that your family may have originally come from. For example, your grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from an Asian country. You work for a company where the manager dislikes Chinese people and often makes derogatory remarks about them. Over time, you accumulate experience and knowledge that would normally make you a candidate for a promotion. Additionally, you are the most qualified candidate, but you are passed over for someone less skilled who is not of Asian ancestry. This may be considered discrimination by national origin.

According to the EEOC, discrimination of this type can appear in many forms, including the following:

  •          Layoffs
  •          Pay rate
  •          Training
  •          Job assignments
  •          Firing
  •          Promotions

Under federal law, you are also protected during the application and hiring process. For instance, if you wear a specific item of clothing that is indicative of your national origin, and you feel that the person interviewing you was more interested in your origin than in your qualifications, then you may have a case for discriminatory behavior.

This discrimination regulation also applies in situations where you are assumed by the employer to be of a certain origin even though you are not. Perhaps you are from Peru but the employer discriminates against you because he or she believes that you are from Mexico and people of that origin are looked down on. Their negative treatment of you may meet the requirements for this type of discrimination. You can also be a victim of origin discrimination by a supervisor who is of your same origin. Each case is different and so you should take this information only as general knowledge and not legal counsel.

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