Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employers of 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of national origin, a term generally known to mean the country of one's ancestry. According to guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination is unlawful when based on:
• An individual's particular place of origin or an ancestor's place of origin
• Physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group
• Marriage to or association with persons, membership in organizations, or attendance at schools or churches associated with a national origin group
• A name or spouse's name associated with a national origin group
• Aptitude or other employment tests, unless such requirements are applied equally to all applicants and relate to successful job performance
• An accent or manner of speaking, unless there is a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the action
Harassment prohibited. Workplace harassment on the basis of national origin is also prohibited. Examples of offensive conduct include ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, or other offensive conduct related to an individual's birthplace, ethnicity, culture, or accent. Additional information is available.
It is permissible to make employment decisions on the basis of national origin or citizenship because of a BFOQ “reasonably necessary to the normal operation” of a business. However, such situations are extremely rare, and employers ...