California's New National Origin Discrimination Regulations for Employers

Updated Rules Governing Language Restrictions, Immigration Status Inquiries, Height and Weight Requirements

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss the new national origin regulations from California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) effective July 1, 2018. The expert panel will delve into the new definition of “national origin,” permissible and prohibited types of employer policies on language restrictions in the workplace, immigration status inquiries, and height and weight requirements for work.


On July 1, 2018, new regulations from California’s FEHC went into effect, clarifying protections from national origin discrimination. The new regulations are quite extensive and include clarifications on the definition of “national origin," and the prohibited types of employer policies governing language restrictions in the workplace, inquiries regarding immigration status, and height and weight requirements for work.

The new regulations expand the definition of “national origin” to include six specific categories, which employers must understand. The new rules expressly state that height and weight requirements may be unlawful if they result in discrimination based on national origin.

The new regulations place additional requirements on employers who have policies that limit or prohibit the use of any language in the workplace. The new regulations also specifically target “English-only rules,” making them presumptively illegal unless employers can meet the regulatory requirements.

The new regulations also place several limits on immigration-related practices, such as inquiring about an employee’s immigration status unless the person seeking information has shown by “clear and convincing evidence” that the inquiry is necessary to comply with federal immigration law. The overlapping nature of state and federal rules may muddy the waters for employers.

Our panel will provide their insights for employer training, including examples of harassment based on the perception of a person’s national origin, harassment based on someone’s association with a national origin, and improper inquiries about an employee’s immigration status.

Listen as our distinguished panel discusses how to maintain compliance under these new regulations, including best practices for reviewing equal employment opportunity policies, height and weight restrictions, and policies regarding work eligibility.



  1. Overview of California’s new FEHC regulations regarding national origin discrimination
    1. Expanded definition of “national origin”
    2. Prohibited height and weight requirements for jobs
    3. An updated standard for rules governing language restrictions in the workplace
    4. Limitations on verifying work eligibility
  2. Interplay with existing state and federal laws
  3. Possible pitfalls for employers
  4. Best practices for businesses and counsel in light of the recent regulatory changes


The panel will review these and other high priority issues:

  • What are California’s new FEHC regulations regarding national origin discrimination?
  • How do California’s new national origin discrimination regulations overlap with existing state and federal law?
  • How can employers ensure that written workplace policies comply with the new regulations?
  • What types of training can employers provide to employees and management to ensure day-to-day compliance with the new regulations?


Barrick, Cara
Cara F. Barrick

Of Counsel
Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart

Ms. Barrick has extensive experience representing businesses of all sizes in employment law compliance issues,...  |  Read More

Liburt, Joseph
Joseph C. Liburt

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Mr. Liburt has extensive litigation experience successfully defending claims of discrimination, harassment,...  |  Read More

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