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Race/Color Discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her race or color in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related.
Equal employment opportunity cannot be denied because of marriage to or association with an individual of a different race; membership in or association with ethnic based organizations or groups; or attendance or participation in schools or places of worship generally associated with certain minority groups.

Title VII violations include:

Race-Related Characteristics and Conditions
Discrimination on the basis of an immutable characteristic associated with race, such as skin color, hair texture, or certain facial features violates Title VII, even though not all members of the race share the same characteristic. Title VII also prohibits discrimination on the basis of a condition that predominantly affects one race unless the practice is job related and consistent with business necessity. For example, since sickle cell anemia predominantly occurs in African-Americans, a policy that excludes individuals with sickle cell anemia must be job related and consistent with business necessity. Similarly, a “no-beard” employment policy may discriminate against African-American men who have a predisposition to pseudofolliculitis barbae (severe shaving bumps) unless the policy is job related and consistent with business necessity.

Harassment
Harassment on the basis of race and/or color violates Title VII. Ethnic slurs, racial “jokes,” offensive or derogatory comments, or other verbal or physical conduct based on an individual’s race/color constitutes unlawful harassment if the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment or interferes with the individual’s work performance.

Segregation and Classification of Employees
Title VII is violated where employees who belong to a protected group are segregated by physically isolating them from other employees or from customer contact. In addition, employers may not assign employees according to race or color. For example, Title VII prohibits assigning primarily African-Americans to predominantly African-American establishments or geographic areas. It is also illegal to exclude members of one group from particular positions or to group or categorize employees or jobs so that certain jobs are generally held by members of a certain protected group. Coding applications/resumes to designate an applicant’s race, by either an employer or employment agency, constitutes evidence of discrimination where people of a certain race or color are excluded from employment or from certain positions.

Pre-Employment Inquiries Discrimination law
Requesting pre-employment information that discloses or tends to disclose an applicant’s race strongly suggests that race will be used unlawfully as a basis for hiring. Therefore, if members of minority groups are excluded from employment, the request for such pre-employment information would likely constitute evidence of discrimination. If an employer legitimately needs information about its employees’ or applicants’ race for affirmative action purposes and/or to track applicant flow, it may obtain racial information and simultaneously guard against discriminatory selection by using “tear-off sheets” for the identification of an applicant’s race. After the applicant completes the application and the tear-off portion, the employer separates the tear-off sheet from the application and does not use it in the selection process.

It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on race or color, or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.

National Origin Discrimination

Whether an employee or job applicant’s ancestry is Mexican, Ukrainian, Filipino, Arab, American Indian, or any other nationality, he or 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 employers with fifteen (15) or more employees. “With American society growing increasingly diverse, protection against national origin discrimination is vital to the right of workers to compete for jobs on a level playing field,” said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez, announcing the issuance of recent guidance on national origin discrimination. “Immigrants have long been an asset to the American workforce. This is more true than ever in today’s increasingly global economy. Recent world events, including the events of September 11, 2001, only add to the need for employers to be vigilant in ensuring a workplace free from discrimination.”

About National Origin Discrimination
National origin discrimination means treating someone less favorably because he or she comes from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because it is believed that he or she has a particular ethnic background. National origin discrimination also means treating someone less favorably at work because of marriage or other association with someone of a particular nationality. Examples of violations covered under Title VII include:

Employment Decisions
Title VII prohibits any employment decision, including recruitment, hiring, and firing or layoffs, based on national origin.

Harassment
Title VII prohibits offensive conduct, such as ethnic slurs, that creates a hostile work environment based on national origin. 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.

Language
Accent discrimination- An employer may not base a decision on an employee’s foreign accent unless the accent materially interferes with job performance. English fluency- A fluency requirement is only permissible if required for the effective performance of the position for which it is imposed. English-only rules- English-only rules must be adopted for nondiscriminatory reasons. An English-only rule may be used if it is needed to promote the safe or efficient operation of the employer’s business.

Coverage of foreign nationals
Title VII and the other antidiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against individuals employed in the United States, regardless of citizenship. However, relief may be limited if an individual does not have work authorization.

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