What does Donald Trump have in common with the EEOC? Not a question you might anticipate reading, huh? Well, the answer is that each has taken time to remind employers about national origin discrimination. For Donald Trump, this comes through the firestorm raised over his comments on the impartiality of a federal judge because he is of Mexican descent. For the EEOC, this comes through seeking public comment on previously released proposed enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination.
Of course, national origin discrimination may take place through commonly understood means of harassing an individual because of his or her national origin or terminating or refusing to hire an individual because of his or her national origin. But there are a few unique ways in which national origin discrimination can take place as well, of which employers should be familiar. For example, the EEOC’s guidance explains that an English-only language policy in the workplace may be unlawful if it is enacted “to avoid hearing foreign languages in the workplace, to generate a reason to discipline or terminate people who are not native English speakers, or to create a hostile work environment for certain non-English speaking workers.” In fact, the EEOC presumes that such English-only rules violate Title VII.
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