It is against the law to discriminate against a person because of his or her national origin.

Discrimination on the basis of national origin occurs when a person is treated less favourably, or not given the same opportunities, as others in a similar situation because of his or her national origin.

Example: An employee of Indian national origin alleged the supervisor said ‘don’t they teach you how to add up numbers in India?’ The employee alleged he was also denied opportunities to speak in meetings because of perceptions about his language skills.

Although acts of discrimination based on ‘national origin’ are prohibited by the Racial Discrimination Act, discrimination based on nationality or citizenship is not prohibited.

National origin is different to citizenship. According to the law, national origin should be limited to characteristics determined at the time of the person’s birth, either by the place of birth, the national origin of a parent or parents, or a combination of these factors.