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New EEOC guidance addresses national origin discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The EEOC has issued updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination, addressing Title VII’s prohibition on bias that targets employees based on their ethnic and cultural heritage.

The guidance highlights best practices employers can establish to prevent discrimination and addresses developments in the courts over the last 15 years.

The new guidance, released Nov. 21, replaces information contained in one section of a 2002 EEOC compliance manual.

In fiscal year 2015, approximately 11% of the 89,385 private sector charges filed with EEOC alleged national origin discrimination. These charges alleged a wide variety of Title VII violations, including unlawful failure to hire, termination, language-related issues and harassment.

Generally, national origin discrimination means discrimination because an individual (or his or her ancestors) is from a certain place or has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a particular national origin group. Title VII prohibits employer actions that have the purpose or effect of discriminating against persons because of their real or perceived national origin.

The guidance emphasizes inclusive recruitment and retention practices to stamp out discrimination.

Find the EEOC’s national origin discrimination en-forcement guidance at A question-and-answer document is at Information specifically addressing small businesses concerns can be found at

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