7. What is discrimination on the basis of national origin under Title VII?
National origin discrimination is any form of intentional conduct or policy that favors one or more national origins over others. National origin includes the origin or birthplace of the employee or the employee’s ancestors. Examples discriminatory treatment would be failing hire, firing, creating less favorable conditions, or compensating individual differently based upon their national origin. An example of a policy with a potential disparate impact includes mandating communication in a given language or prohibitions of cultural practices without a good faith business necessity.
• Discussion: How do you feel about the Title VII protections afforded employees against national origin discrimination? Are these prohibitions adequate, over broad, or should they go farther to protect minorities? Can you think of any examples of conduct or policies that should be prohibited based upon national origin discrimination?
• Practice Question: Olga and Roman are employees of ABC Corp. They work in the loading warehouse. Olga and Roman are both from the Ukraine and speak Russian as their first languages. Their manager does not like not knowing what they are saying, so he institutes a rule prohibiting employees from speaking any language other than English while at work. Roman ignores the rule and is subsequently fired. Does Roman have a cause of action against ABC Corp?