CA: Expanded Protections of National Origin

New amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) strengthen protection against discrimination due to an individual’s actual or perceived national origin or immigrant status.

While the FEHA previously prohibited discrimination based on national origin, the new law broadens the definition to include physical and cultural characteristics of one’s actual or perceived national origin group, as well as marriage to someone within a national origin group.

Proskauer outlines the expanded definitions as follows:


  1. Physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics associated with a national origin group;
  2. Marriage to or association with persons of a national origin group;
  3. Tribal affiliation;
  4. Membership in or association with an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of a national origin group;
  5. Attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples, mosques, or other religious institutions generally used by persons of a national origin group, and
  6. Name that is associated with a national origin group.

The regulations also define what qualifies as discrimination of national origin, which includes language restriction policies, height and weight requirements, and inquiring about a job applicant’s immigration status.

For more on the limitations, please click here.

The information included in this blog post originally appeared in Proskauer’s California Employment Blog on May 27, 2018, written by Tony Oncidi.


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