The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) has proposed comprehensive enforcement guidance addressing national origin discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC announced this past Thursday that it is seeking public comments prior to issuing its final enforcement guidance. Enforcement guidance documents from the EEOC state the agency’s official policy on how relevant laws and regulations should apply to specific workplace situations.
This announcement comes 14 years after the EEOC last comprehensively addressed the issue of national origin discrimination. Since that time, there have been significant legal developments addressing national origin discrimination that are covered by the EEOC’s new proposed guidance. Specifically, the revised guidance addresses job segregation, human trafficking, and intersectional discrimination. A current copy of the proposed revised guidance can be found here.
In fiscal year 2015, the EEOC reports 11 percent of the private sector charges filed with the EEOC included allegations of national origin discrimination. “The EEOC has identified protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable populations as a national strategic priority” according to EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. The EEOC is currently involved in a lawsuit it brought against Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. back in 2012 alleging the termination of a group of workers was due to national origin discrimination. The case is EEOC v. Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., case number 1:14-cv-00663, and is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The 30-day comment period begins on July 1, 2016. The EEOC will consider all input prior to implementing its final enforcement guidance. Input may be provided by mailing hard copies to the EEOC1, or may be provided electronically in letter, email, or memoranda format by using www.regulations.gov. Comments will be posted publicly on the website and may show email addresses. Therefore, commenters should be careful not to include personal information that should not be made publically available.