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National origin discrimination in the workplace

New York is home to many foreign nationals who have legal permission to work in the United States. If an employer discriminates against an employee or applicant for employment based on national origin, the company is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. National origin discrimination may occur even if an employer is mistaken about an employee's country of origin.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission files employment discrimination claims on behalf of people who have been discriminated against for protected characteristics such as national origin. About 11 percent of the EEOC's claims against employers in the private sector involve allegations of national origin discrimination. Recently, the EEOC published guidance to help small businesses understand how to prevent national origin discrimination in the workplace.

In its new guidance, the EEOC reminded small businesses that discriminating against individuals based on their real or assumed national origin is unlawful at all points in the employment process. Employers that submit to pressure from customers who urge them not to hire foreign nationals are breaking employment laws. Only hiring U.S. citizens when foreign nationals have legal permission to work in the U.S. is also a violation of Title VII.

While a foreign national may believe that they were discriminated against in the hiring process, proving that discrimination occurred at an interview can be difficult. An employment law attorney may be able to help a job applicant to prove that an employer has a history of repeatedly discriminating against non-U.S. citizens. Someone who has suffered financial damages from employment discrimination may pursue financial compensation for their damages.

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