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How you are protected from national origin discrimination at work

Immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy, and workers from all over the world provide valuable contributions to workplaces across the country, regardless of whether they have lived in the United States for a matter of months or for many years.

While your national origin is likely to play a significant part in your sense of identity and is very important to you, it should never play a role in whether you are hired for a certain employment position, or how you are treated in the workplace. Your nationality should never be used against you to make you feel uncomfortable or be the center of jokes.

If you have experienced discrimination in the hiring process or in your workplace, you may be able to take legal action and gain compensation as a result. The following is an overview of how federal laws apply to national origin discrimination.

How is national origin discrimination defined under the law?

National origin discrimination refers to any situation in which you are treated differently because of the country in which you were perceived to have been born or from which you have ancestors. You do not need to have been born outside the U.S. to be subject to national origin discrimination. For example, if your parents were born in Mexico and you are perceived to be from Mexico and discriminated against as a result, this would count as a form of national origin discrimination.

What federal laws are in place to protect workers from national origin discrimination?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 addresses national origin discrimination and prohibits any national origin discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing and layoff processes. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) also protects workers from discrimination based on citizenship status.

If you have experienced national origin discrimination in the workplace, take swift action to understand your options. You may be able to gain compensation, especially if you lost your income due to this treatment.