In 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported 6,377 national origin discrimination complaints. Origin discrimination is the unfair or prejudicial treatment of individuals based on their place of birth, ancestry or national origin.
Recognizing this form of discrimination and fighting against it can help create a workplace that values diversity and treats everyone with respect, but the first step is understanding why and how it happens.
Why it happens
Origin discrimination occurs when people make assumptions about individuals that perpetuate unfair and biased beliefs because that person comes from a certain area. Often, this means people rely on stereotypes and assume they are true which leads to unfair treatment. There may also be deep-rooted feelings some people hold due to past experiences. Sometimes, a person’s upbringing causes them to mistreat others and think it is acceptable.
How it happens
Origin discrimination may manifest in hiring, promotions or job assignments. Managers may limit opportunities for certain workers. This may not allow them to progress within the organization. They may make assumptions that lead to these decisions without giving the employee a fair opportunity to disprove the ideas.
This type of discrimination can also appear in the way co-workers and others within the workplace treat a person. They might make derogatory comments. They could also exclude workers from activities or work-related events based on their origin. These actions can create a hostile or unwelcoming environment.
How to stop the problem
Laws can help address origin discrimination by establishing guidelines to ensure equal treatment. They also can create punishment for those breaking them. However, bringing about lasting change comes from everyone embracing diversity, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity.
Fighting against origin discrimination starts with understanding and appreciating the richness of diverse backgrounds. Treating everyone with dignity and respect contributes to building a workplace where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.