New York employers would do well to familiarize themselves with the proposed guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in early June. It is focused on preventing discrimination based on workers' national origin. While employers may believe that they understand what this type of discrimination involves, the agency points to different scenarios that are discriminatory but which may not be immediately obvious.
According to the EEOC, an employer may be jointly liable for national origin discrimination if the employer uses a staffing company that is itself discriminatory in its hiring practices. Employers may also hold liability of they are discriminatory based not only on a person's color but also on the person's perceived religious practices. For example, if an employer decides not to hire someone based on the fact that they are perceived to be from the Middle East, that is discriminatory. It is also discriminatory if the employer decides not to hire someone because the employer perceives them to be Muslim based on the employee's national origin.
Other problems that may be discriminatory include making employee decisions based on the discrimination against certain groups by customers. Employers also may be found to be discriminatory if they recruit in areas in which certain groups are not located in an effort to avoid hiring members of those groups.
Discrimination based on a person's national origin is unfortunately very prevalent in today's society. The EEOC is focusing on this particular type of discrimination in an effort to reduce its incidence. People facing this type of prohibited behavior might find it advisable to meet with an employment law attorney to see what recourse may be available.