The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized revisions to its written Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO laws. The revised guidance, which took effect upon its November 21 publication, supersedes the EEOC’s compliance manual chapter on national origin discrimination, which was last updated in 2002.

Despite comments that NT Lakis lawyers filed with the agency urging several changes to improve the draft revisions that EEOC published last June, the final document closely tracks the original proposal and continues to contain some questionable legal interpretations that arguably go beyond Title VII requirements.

For instance, in the EEOC’s broad description of what “national origin” means, the guidance asserts that even persons with roots in the United States but who may be perceived as “closely associated with a particular national origin group” are protected from discrimination on that basis. In addition, the EEOC asserts that discrimination based on an individual’s cultural “style of dress” may implicate Title VII, declining to reconcile its position with the right of employers to enforce legitimate, nondiscriminatory dress and grooming policies.

A copy of the revised guidance, along with an accompanying question-and-answer document and small business fact sheet, can be accessed here.

Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.