Discrimination in the workplace is illegal under both federal and state labor laws, and there are many protected classes. For instance, workers cannot be discriminated against on the basis of age or gender. Today, let’s take a look at three closely-related areas of discrimination: race, color and national origin. 

The similarities between these three types of discrimination

The similarities are clear, and the discrimination you experience may not outright focus on one type of discrimination over another. For example, if you are a worker who immigrated to the United States from a different country or region of the world, you could find yourself facing discrimination at the hands of an employer. Is it because of your actual race, the country where you grew up or the color of your skin? It could be all three or simply one.

Race and color discrimination in particular can often be intertwined. As the EEOC states, while there can be some overlap between race and color, the two are not synonymous. Discrimination on the basis of race can include discriminating based on certain characteristics associated with race, including physical and also genetic characteristics. Discrimination on the basis of color can include discriminating based on the lightness or darkness of the skin, as well as other characteristics associated with skin shade or tone.

Discrimination based on national origin

Discrimination on the basis of national origin is not only limited to discrimination based on where the employee or applicant is from, including a particular country or region of the world. This type of discrimination can also include discriminating based on accent, ethnicity or perceived ethnicity and more.

Know your legal options

If you are discriminated against on the job or during the interview process, it is important to understand what legal options you have. Typically, you will have 180 days to file a charge, although state law may extend this timeline. An experienced legal advocate can help you better understand your situation and what steps to take next.