The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is working to check off another initiative from its Strategic Enforcement Plan, having released for public comment an updated draft of its “Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination.” The enforcement guidance frames out the agency’s policy for addressing national origin claims under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964, 49 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., which prohibits unfair treatment of employees and applicants based upon a number of defined characteristics including national origin.

The applicable law, according to the enforcement guidance, prohibits “discrimination because an individual (or his or her ancestors) is from a certain place or has the physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a particular national origin group” and “prohibits employer actions that have the purpose or effect of discriminating against persons because of their real or perceived national origin.” The enforcement guidance addresses a wide range of topics including intersectional discrimination, human trafficking, harassment, accent and fluency, national security requirements, and citizenship issues.

National origin discrimination is counted among several other high priority items identified in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan, including LGBT and transgender protections, criminal background checks, equal pay and accommodations for religion and pregnancy. The draft guidance is available for review here. The EEOC has allowed a comment period of only 30 days, and that closes on July 1.