National Origin Discrimination & Harassment

Muslim Woman at WorkNational Origin Discrimination involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not).

National Origin Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s national origin, accent, or ethnicity.

The law forbids discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

An employer can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively.  An “English-only rule”, which requires employees to speak only English on the job, is only allowed if it is needed to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the employer’s business and is put in place for non-discriminatory reasons.

An employer may not base an employment decision on an employee’s foreign accent, unless the accent seriously interferes with the employee’s job performance.

Discrimination and Harassment can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same national origin.

For more information on National Origin Discrimination, see Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and  State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Division on Civil Rights.

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