CA FEHC Proposes Amendments to FEHA on National Origin Protections Featured

  15 June 2017

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council has issued proposed amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regarding national origin protections.

The Council proposes to revise and significantly expand on existing protections to provide clarity regarding language restrictions in the workplace, and to add a number of other subsections regarding acts that may constitute national origin discrimination in the workplace. The section is necessary to provide employers with a guide as to acts that may unknowingly constitute discrimination on the basis of an individual’s national origin. The amendments include clarification that both English-only rules, and other language restrictions, are unlawful unless narrowly tailored and consistent with business necessity, and the employer has effectively notified employees regarding the time of the language restriction and consequences for violating the restriction. The amendments also include a new section on “accent discrimination” stating that discriminating against an applicant or employee based upon the individual’s accent is unlawful national origin discrimination, unless the accent materially interferes with an individual’s ability to do the job. Read more here.