From IMA member law firm PAUTSCH, SPOGNARDI & BAIOCCHI LEGAL GROUP . . .
In late November, the EEOC issued a new guidance for employers dealing with national origin discrimination in the workplace under Title VII. This is the first guidance issued on this topic in over a decade. The guidance clarifies that national origin discrimination means discrimination because an individual is from a certain place or shares the physical, cultural, or language characteristics of a national origin or ethnic group. National origin may be a country (Mexico), a former country (Yugoslavia), or a geographical place associated with an ethnic group (Kurdistan). A national origin group is a group of people who share a common language, culture, ancestry, and/or other social characteristics (such as Hispanics/Latinos or Arabs).
Importantly, the guidance makes clear that national origin does not refer to citizenship or immigration status. Nevertheless, applicants and individuals working in the United States are protected from discrimination and retaliation regardless of their immigration status and even though they may be undocumented. Employers, through the I-9 process, are required to verify an applicant’s lawful work status in order to hire and allow the applicant to work. Equally important, the guidance make clear that Title VII does not require accommodation of national origin traditions or practices, where those traditions or practices are not religious. An employer would, however, need to grant a request for religious accommodation if doing so would not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
PSB attorneys have extensive experience in counseling and defending discrimination, harassment, accommodation, and retaliation claims before administrative agencies and federal and state courts. This firm also has substantial experience in I-9 compliance and I-9 audits by federal agencies. Call any PSB attorney if you need help in these areas.
PAUTSCH, SPOGNARDI & BAIOCCHI LEGAL GROUP is a law firm dedicated to finding common sense, affordable solutions for businesses to labor, employment, human resource and general business needs. With over 75 combined years of experience among its three founding partners in these areas, we can assist businesses in developing custom solutions to today’s tough issues. And as litigators, who combined have over thousands of trials “under their belts” before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies (such as the NLRB) you will find no better advocate and partner.