Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination and retaliation due to national origin. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to treat workers unfairly because of their national origin or ethnic background, if an individual is from a certain country, or if he or she has cultural, physical, or linguistic characteristics of a certain ethnic group. In FY 2015, approximately 11% of workplace discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claimed national origin discrimination or harassment.

In November 2016, the EEOC issued a new Guidance on national origin discrimination. In announcing the proposed Guidance, EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said, “The EEOC has identified immigrant, migrant,