National Origin Discrimination

Whether an employee or job applicant's ancestry is Mexican, Ukrainian, Filipino, Arab, West Indian, or any other nationality, he or she is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else. DDOL enforces the state prohibition against national origin discrimination in employment under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA), which covers employers with four (4) or more employees.

About National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination means treating someone less favorably because he or she comes from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because it is believed that he or she has a particular ethnic background. National origin discrimination also means treating someone less favorably at work because of relation to, or association with, someone of a particular nationality. Examples of violations covered under DDEA include:

  • Employment Decisions
    DDEA prohibits any employment decision, including recruitment, hiring, and firing or layoffs, based on national origin.
  • Harassment
    DDEA prohibits offensive conduct, such as ethnic slurs, that creates a hostile work environment based on national origin. Employers are required to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. Likewise, employees are responsible for reporting harassment at an early stage to prevent its escalation.
  • Language
    • Accent discrimination
      An employer may not base a decision on an employee's foreign accent unless the accent materially interferes with job performance.
    • English fluency
      A fluency requirement is only permissible if required for the effective performance of the position for which it is imposed.
    • English-only rules
      English-only rules must be adopted for nondiscriminatory reasons. An English-only rule may be used if it is needed to promote the safe or efficient operation of the employer's business.

Coverage of foreign nationals

DDEA and the other antidiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against individuals employed in the United States, regardless of citizenship. However, relief may be limited if an individual does not have work authorization.

EEOC Enforcement Guidances and Policy Documents:


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