Whether an individual (or her ancestors) is from China, Russia, or Nigeria, or belongs to an ethnic group, such as Hispanic or Arab, she is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else. EEOC enforces the federal prohibition against national origin discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which covers private sector employers with fifteen or more employees, federal government employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of the individual's national origin. No one can be denied equal employment opportunity because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics closely associated with an ethnic group. Equal employment opportunity cannot be denied because of marriage or association with persons of a national origin group; membership or association with specific ethnic promotion groups; attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples or mosques generally associated with a national origin group; or a surname associated with a national origin group. Examples of violations covered under Title VII include:
Title VII prohibits employment decisions, including those involving recruitment, hiring, promotion, segregation, and firing or layoffs, that have the purpose or effect of discriminating based on national origin.
Title VII prohibits national origin harassment when it is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment based on national origin can take different forms, including ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, physical violence, or other offensive conduct directed towards an individual because of birthplace, ethnicity, culture, language, dress, or foreign accent. Employers are required to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. Likewise, employees are responsible for reporting harassment at an early stage to prevent its escalation.