Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

What is country of origin discrimination?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Race And National Origin Discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their country of origin. This is often called national origin discrimination. It may be referenced alongside things like racial discrimination or ethnic discrimination.

But it can be much different. For instance, when people think about racial discrimination, they are often really thinking about discrimination based on skin color. But two people could have the exact same skin tone and be from very different countries, leading to discrimination for one and not the other. 

An example of this could be a second-generation African-American, whose parents came from Kenya, and an immigrant who just arrived from Kenya the year before. If the African-American employee is treated fairly and the immigrant is not, the issue clearly doesn’t have anything to do with skin color – but is instead based on that person‘s country of origin.

Marriage could influence it

One important thing to keep in mind is that national origin discrimination may be based on marriage. For instance, a specific employee may have the same ethnic background as all of their coworkers, but they marry someone who is from a different country. Their coworkers then begin discriminating against them or harassing them due to this marriage. It’s still a form of discrimination, even though a person being discriminated against isn’t even from the other country. They are still being treated unfairly based on the background of their spouse.

What options are there?

This helps to show how discrimination cases can be very complicated. Workers who feel like they are being treated unfairly need to know exactly what legal options they have moving forward.