The low down on National origin discrimination

What is origin discrimination? Learn more about it, including its definition and how to recognize it. Discover how it occurs and how it can be stopped.

There are many different nationalities people that make up the workforce in Michigan, and diversity is a benefit to a company. However, there are employers, supervisors and workers who may not like the diversity in their workplace. This can lead to discrimination.

While sexual, racial and religious discrimination are all pretty well understood there are other forms of discrimination that still occur. One of those is national origin discrimination.

What is national origin discrimination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines national origin discrimination as adverse actions against a person due to his or her national origin. For example, an employer not hiring a person because he or she is Mexican or Iraqi would be origin discrimination.

Such discrimination can be against an employee, an applicant or a co-worker. Anyone can be the source, from supervisors to customers. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure discrimination does not occur against any employee or applicant.

What protections are there against this type of discrimination?

Because employers cannot be completely trusted to monitor and prevent all national origin discrimination, the government steps in to impose laws to protect workers. The Civil Rights Act is the main law outlawing any form of discrimination. In addition, the Immigration Reform and Control Act also provides protection against national origin discrimination.

Under the law, people are protected from being discriminated against during any phase of employment, from applying for a job or to being fired. This also includes employment policies. Employers cannot enact policies that target people of a specific national origin. When hiring, employers cannot refuse to hire someone because of a foreign accent, and unless it is necessary for safety and efficient operation, a company also may not refuse to hire someone because he or she cannot speak English. Employees are also protected against harassment based on their national origin.

How can it be prevented?

Stopping origin discrimination requires a focused effort of everyone within a company. The Society for Human Resource Management suggests understanding more about what you can and cannot do and how the laws work.

To begin with, employers need to know that having policies and conducting investigations against origin discrimination is not enough to remove liability. It is essential to prevent it from happening in the first place. This includes ensuring employees understand what they can and cannot do.

Discrimination in the workplace creates a hostile environment and prevents people from being able to secure and keep gainful employment. If you have been a victim of origin discrimination, then you should consider seeking legal assistance from Miller Cohen, PLC.