Race vs national origin discrimination

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2021 | Race Discrimination |

When it comes to race, color and national origin, people often confuse them. Race and color are very closely linked as color refer to the color of the skin and race usually will determine that. National origin, however, is different.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains national origin refers to where a person is from. For example, if a person is from France, then his or her national origin is French.


There is no difference between the protection discrimination laws offer for race and national origin. It is illegal for an employer to harass or discriminate against a person due to his or her race or national origin. The law also applies even if the actions are only based on assumptions of a person’s race or national origin.

For example, if an employer discriminates against someone because they believe they are Italian but the person is actually Greek, it is still discrimination based on national origin.

Discrimination may also occur due to associating with someone of a certain race or national origin. For example, an employer may discriminate against an employee because her husband is Hispanic even though she is not.


The EEOC explains race discrimination may link to national origin discrimination since many races come from the national origin. For example, an African American may mean the person is of African descent or is someone from Africa. It can be confusing because African Americans can be white. However, in the U.S. the term usually applies to black Americans.

Race and national origin discrimination are different yet very similar. However, race refers to skin color and other ethnic features a person has while national origin is the place from which a person comes.


FindLaw Network