How is National Origin Defined?
National origin refers to the country where a person was born, or, more broadly, the country from which his or her ancestors came, while ethnicity or ancestry refers to only the applicant’s or employee’s ethnic identity, or the country, nation, tribe, or other identifiable population from which a person’s forebearers came or to which they belong.
What is National Origin, Ancestry, and Ethnicity Harassment?
State and federal law protects applicants and employees from harassment on the basis of national origin or ethnicity.
National origin and ethnicity harassment occurs when offensive comments are being made by someone in the workplace about another person’s national origin or ethnicity. National origin and ethnicity harassment can become illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the employee being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the employee’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
“English-Only” Rules at Work
The law only allows an employer to require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary for the applicant or employee to perform his or her 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 nondiscriminatory reasons.
Employees cannot be harassed because of that employee’s foreign accent or for speaking another language.
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