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national origin discrimination

National origin discrimination involves treating a job applicant or employee unfavorably because of that person's national origin—which includes birthplace, country or region of origin, ethnicity (actual or perceived), ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics (accent, etc.). National origin discrimination also can involve treating people unfavorably because they are married to or associated with a person of a certain national origin.

National origin discrimination is a form of employment discrimination that violates federal law—including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000e). States also have laws against national origin discrimination in employment. These laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the labor code or employment-related statutes.

The law makes it illegal for an employer or other covered entity to use an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone—regardless of national origin—if it has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business.

An employer can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively. An English-only rule that 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. An employer may not base an employment decision on an employee's foreign accent, unless the accent seriously interferes with the employee's job performance.
Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same national origin.

It is also unlawful to harass a person in the workplace because of his or her national origin. Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's national origin, accent, or ethnicity. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is 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 victim being fired or demoted.

The harasser can be the victim'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.

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

In Texas, national origin discrimination in employment is prohibited under federal law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to treat job applicants or employees unfavorably because of their national origin. This includes discrimination based on birthplace, ethnicity, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics such as an accent. Texas state law also prohibits such discrimination, aligning with federal standards. Employers cannot implement policies that negatively impact individuals of a certain national origin unless the policy is job-related and necessary for business operations. English fluency can only be required if it is essential for job performance, and English-only rules must be for non-discriminatory reasons and crucial for business safety or efficiency. Discrimination can occur even between individuals of the same national origin. Workplace harassment based on national origin is illegal when it creates a hostile work environment or leads to adverse employment decisions. The law covers all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and other employment terms and conditions. Victims of such discrimination in Texas may seek remedies through the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


Texas Statutes & Rules

Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21 - Employment Discrimination
This chapter of the Texas Labor Code is relevant as it outlines the state's policies against employment discrimination, including national origin discrimination.

The Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21, also known as the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin. This includes discrimination in hiring, firing, training, promotion, compensation, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and the state government. The TCHRA is enforced by the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, which investigates discrimination complaints.

Texas Labor Code, Section 21.051 - Discrimination by Employer
This section specifically addresses the unlawful employment practices by an employer on the basis of national origin.

Under Section 21.051 of the Texas Labor Code, an employer commits an unlawful employment practice if because of national origin, the employer fails or refuses to hire an individual, discharges an individual, or discriminates in any other manner against an individual in connection with compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

Texas Labor Code, Section 21.055 - Discriminatory Advertising
This section prohibits discriminatory job advertisements that could limit or deter job applicants based on national origin.

Section 21.055 makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor union, or employment agency to publish an advertisement for employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on national origin, unless national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification for employment.

Texas Labor Code, Section 21.054 - English-Only Rules
This section is relevant as it addresses the legality of English-only workplace policies, which can be related to national origin discrimination.

While the Texas Labor Code does not have a specific section titled 'English-Only Rules,' policies regarding language in the workplace would be subject to the same anti-discrimination provisions of the Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21. Employers must ensure that any language requirements do not discriminate against employees based on national origin and are justified as a business necessity.

Texas Labor Code, Section 21.056 - Retaliation
This section is relevant as it protects employees from retaliation if they oppose discriminatory practices or participate in proceedings related to discrimination.

Section 21.056 of the Texas Labor Code states that it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency to retaliate against a person who opposes a discriminatory practice, files a discrimination complaint, testifies, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Chapter 21.

Federal Statutes & Rules

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq.)
Title VII is the primary federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of national origin, among other protected characteristics.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of national origin. This includes discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, job assignment, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments as well as private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII and investigates complaints of national origin discrimination. Discriminatory practices under Title VII also include harassment on the basis of national origin, such as offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's nationality, which create a hostile work environment. Additionally, employment policies or practices that negatively impact individuals of a certain national origin and are not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business are prohibited. Title VII also restricts the use of English-only rules and accent discrimination, unless they are necessary for the operation of the business and are implemented for nondiscriminatory reasons.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) (8 U.S.C. §1324b)
IRCA includes provisions that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of national origin by smaller employers not covered by Title VII.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits employers with 4 to 14 employees from discriminating against individuals on the basis of national origin. This law makes it illegal for small employers to make employment decisions, including hiring, firing, and recruitment, based on an individual's birthplace, nationality, ancestry, or any other factor related to national origin. IRCA also prohibits unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees and requires employers to ensure that employees are legally permitted to work in the United States. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices within the Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of IRCA.

Executive Order 11246
Executive Order 11246 prohibits national origin discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors.

Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. The order applies to federal contractors and subcontractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year. The order mandates that contractors take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of employment. It is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) within the U.S. Department of Labor.