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EEOC Updates Its National Origin Discrimination Guidance

November 28, 2016View for printing

On November 18, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination, replacing the 2002 Compliance Manual section on the same topic. The new guidance discusses specific workplace issues that may give rise to national origin discrimination and provides employers with "promising practices" to proactively address the issue. The EEOC also issued a "Q&A" publication to summarize the new guidance, as well as a "Small Business Fact Sheet" that covers the major points of the guidance in non-legal language.

As the American workforce becomes increasingly diverse, the new guidance encourages employers to ensure that their workplaces remain free from national origin discrimination. Title VII and other federal laws protect employees from harassment and adverse employment actions that are based on the employee's actual or perceived place of origin or ethnic group. A place of origin can be a country, former country, or region that is closely associated with a particular national origin group. An ethnic group refers to a group of people that shares a common language, culture, ancestry, race, or other social characteristic.

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