EEOC Seeks Input on National Origin Guidance

Jun 13 2016 - Discrimination - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

public comment national origin EEOC

Public comment is open until July 1, 2016!

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed enforcement guidance relating to national origin discrimination and is seeking public input prior to finalizing the guidance. While EEOC guidance is not binding on the courts, it does set forth the EEOC’s position and indicates how it will act to enforce anti-discrimination laws.

According to the EEOC, approximately 11 percent of the 89,385 private sector charges filed with the EEOC in fiscal year 2015 alleged national origin discrimination. These charges alleged a wide variety of Title VII violations, including unlawful failure to hire, termination, language-related issues and harassment.

The proposed guidance tackles emerging areas of national origin discrimination that the EEOC is monitoring. Some of the points in the proposal include:

  • Staffing firms and clients can be jointly liable for national origin discrimination.
  • Human trafficking is a criminal violation and can be a Title VII violation if targeted at individuals based on their national origin.
  • Customer preference is not a defense to discriminatory employment actions.
  • Screening candidates by Social Security number alone can be a national origin violation. A Social Security card is only one of several documents that an employee may use to verify work authorization during the Form I-9 process. The proposed guidance also discusses citizenship requirements.
  • If your workforce speaks a language other than English, you need to provide anti-harassment materials and training in the language your employees understand; otherwise, you won’t be able to show that you took steps to prevent harassment in your workplace and decrease liability if faced with a lawsuit.

Public input is invited until July 1, 2016 using www.regulations.gov in a letter, email or memoranda format. Alternatively, hard copies may be mailed to Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber provides an Employee Handbook Creator and mandatory harassment prevention training in both English and Spanish. Members can learn more about national origin discrimination in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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