Where to Report National Origin Discrimination at Work

National origin discrimination is illegal in the workplace as employees are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation prohibits discrimination in hiring, discharge, promotion, job training, fringe benefits, pay, referral, classification, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex.

National origin discrimination occurs when employees or applicants are treated unfavorably as a result of the fact that they are from a particular part of the world or country, because of their accent or ethnicity, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they’re not). National origin discrimination may also involve treating people unfavorably as a result of the fact that they are married or are otherwise somehow connected to a person of a distinct or particular national origin.

Reporting National Origin Discrimination at Work 

If you know you have been a victim of discrimination based on your national origin and you have the evidence to prove it, you should first report the incident to your employer’s Human Resources (HR) department with the evidence. If HR doesn’t do anything to correct the discrimination, you should report it to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

Reporting National Origin Discrimination to the EEOC  

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws protecting job applicants and employees from their employer discriminating against them because of their national origin. To make it clear, the protection provided by these EEOC laws exists because these laws make it illegal for such discrimination to take place. Most employers that have at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws, and most employment agencies and labor unions are also covered. You can file a report of your national origin discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the discrimination taking place. This can be done online or in person at your nearest EEOC office.

Reporting National Origin Discrimination to Your State 

Most states have a specific department where you may report your national origin discrimination like the labor department or civil rights department. Many states also have their own laws that prohibit national origin discrimination. To enforce these state laws, such states have state-specific agencies which are called "Fair Employment Practices Agencies" (FEPAs). You can file your discrimination charge with either a Fair Employment Practices Agency or the EEOC.

When a person first files a discrimination charge with a FEPA that has a work share agreement with the EEOC, and the charge is protected by a law enforced by the EEOC, the FEPA dual files the charge with the EEOC. All this means is that the EEOC will be sent a copy of the charge. And, if the charge is initially filed with the EEOC and the charge is also covered by state or local law, the EEOC will dually file the charge with the state or local FEPA so the FEPA will be given a copy of the charge.

What to Have When Reporting National Origin Discrimination 

Evidence of national origin discrimination may include verbal or written statements by witnesses that know your employer treated you unfavorably because of your national origin. An example of direct evidence is when an employer states that it refuses to promote employees from a particular national origin. Oftentimes, evidence is when the victim shows that the discrimination occurred when he or she was fired for poor performance after their boss learned their national origin, but they had previously been given excellent performance reviews.

Speak With an Employment Law Attorney  

Providing the right evidence proving national origin discrimination is an important part of winning a claim of discrimination. An employment law attorney may be able to help you file a successful claim.

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