National origin discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably because he or she is from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because the person appears to be of a certain ethnic background (even if the person is not).
Discrimination can also exist if the unfavorable treatment is based on the national origin of the person’s spouse or because of the person’s association with a national origin group. Discrimination can exist when the victim and the person discriminating are of the same national origin.
Which Employers Are Subject to Laws Prohibiting National Origin Discrimination?
Employers can be held responsible for national origin discrimination if they have 15 or more employees who worked for the company for at least twenty calendar weeks (this year or last).
In Which Work Situations Is National Origin Discrimination Prohibited?
The law prohibits national origin discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
It is illegal for anyone involved with a person’s employment–a supervisor, manager, co-worker, or even a customer–to harass a person because of his or her national origin. The law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not serious. Harassment can include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s national origin that are so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.
National Origin Discrimination and Employment Practices (Disparate Impact)
An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of national origin, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular national origin and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business.
An employer can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively. Employers can use an “English-only rule” only if it is necessary to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the business and is instituted for non-discriminatory reasons.
An employer may not base an employment decision on an employee’s foreign accent, unless the accent seriously interferes with the employee’s job performance.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act also provides protections in employment based on a person’s citizenship or immigration status. Read more here.
DOES NEVADA LAW ALSO PROHIBIT National Origin DISCRIMINATION?
Yes, Nevada law has very similar prohibitions against race and color discrimination.
WHAT CAN I DO IF MY EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATES AGAINST ME BASED ON NATIONAL ORIGIN?
To learn about what action you can take, go here.