It’s illegal for employers to discriminate based on your national origin. This, to many people, seems repetitive. They already can’t discriminate based on ethnicity or race. Wouldn’t that generally cover national origin?

It may. For instance, if someone was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States, they could be discriminated against based on their ethnicity, which would be the same as if they were discriminated against based on being from Mexico. There is some overlap. 

However, the term “national origin” helps by taking things a step further. It can include things like language, culture, ancestry and birthplace. It can also include “a region within a country or a region that spans multiple countries.” 

For instance, perhaps the discrimination is based on the fact that you’re from southern Mexico. The employer is happy to hire people from northern areas of Mexico, but not from the south based on some prejudice. That’s still discrimination based on where you were born, even if they don’t outright refuse to hire people from all of Mexico. 

Or, maybe you’re from the Middle East and an employer refuses to hire you because of it. Do they even know if you’re from Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, or any other country in the region? They may have no idea. Again, though, they’re discriminating against you based on the region where you were born, if not the specific country. That is still illegal under these current laws.

It can be frustrating to face employment discrimination. You just want to work hard and support your family. Rest assured that the law is on your side. If you’re facing workplace discrimination, talk to an attorney about your options.